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Why flight crews always front load their carry-on luggage

Feb. 29, 2020
3 min read
Why flight crews always front load their carry-on luggage
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Whenever I'm at the airport I'm always observing how everyone packs.

You've got the business travelers on day trips with just their work bag, the minimalist millennials with their Away carry-on, the families with their strollers and diaper bags. And then there's the flight crew, with bags strapped onto the front of their luggage.

To give you a better idea of what exactly I'm talking about, just take a look at this photo.

(Photo by Liz Hund/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Liz Hund/The Points Guy)

Can we all agree that this setup seems especially bulky for a professional traveler? Why not sit that bag on top of the suitcase?

Well, after talking with quite a few flight attendants I now understand why the flight crew never stacks their bags.

"I carried my tote on top of my rollerboard when I first started. My arms were sore and my hands were blistered. I mentioned something about it to a flight attendant I was working with and she was like 'Girl use your J hook, thank me later.' Putting the bag on the front distributes the weight so it makes pulling the rollerboard effortless," shared one flight attendant I spoke to.

Related: What your luggage says about you

A second crew member agreed: "Easier on the arm. Most of the weight is now closer to the ground, making it easier to pull, whereas if you stack on top the weight is higher making it harder for your arm."

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Who knew?! Certainly not me, but it all makes total sense now. And it's all thanks to the J Hook.

I've had suitcases in the past that have had those random straps at the top and I could never figure out the use for them. Turns out, those random straps are pretty handy when it comes to lugging around a carry-on and personal bag.

Beyond the fact that stacking your carry-on without a J Hook is less secure, it also throws the balance way off by stacking vertically, which can feel like you're pulling twice the weight.

So now you know about the magical J Hook and why the flight crew never stacks their luggage. Looks like we'll have to add that to our list of suitcase mistakes we've all made at some point or another.

Featured image by LightRocket via Getty Images

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more