Why flight crews always front load their carry-on luggage
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
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.
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.”
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 photo by Faris Hadziq/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees