Which? report uncovers air traveller's worst nightmare
Have you ever been about to get onto a flight, only to be told that there’s no space in the cabin for your bag, and it will need to go into the hold?
When that happens, there’s not a lot you can do; if it’s a choice between getting on the plane and staying where you are, most of us will just agree to have our bag put in the hold, and get onto the plane without it.
The problem is that often when this happens - your bags have not been checked in properly, but they’re put into the hold any way - your belongings are not actually insured. If your bag or its contents are lost or damaged, your insurance provider may not pay out because the bag was not officially checked into the hold.
A recent survey by Which? found that as many as 1 in 10 air travellers has been affected by this and five of the largest travel insurance companies told Which? that valuables that went missing like this would not be covered by their insurance policies.
Since we expect to have our cabin bags with us at all times, we don’t usually padlock our hand luggage. Many people have reported that valuables have gone missing from their hand luggage after it was put in the hold. While an airline can ask passengers to have their hand luggage put in the hold, they do often forget to remind passengers to remove valuables before doing so.
The problem is that plane cabins are not designed to hold a lot of small suitcases. Many airlines will include in their small print that they can ask you to part with your bag at any time. According to Which? the cabin of a plane is not large enough to hold a full size cabin bag for every passenger if the plane is full. For example, a Boeing 737 has 189 seats, but its overhead lockers can only store 90 full-sized cabin cases.
Of course, the fact the airline can ask us to put our hand luggage in the hold, and that we should remove valuables from our bag before doing so, is all in the terms and conditions, which we sign when purchasing our tickets. This means the airline is perfectly within its rights to do this, and cannot be held responsible.
But how many of us actually stop and read the fine print when purchasing airline tickets?
At GATE8, our cabin bags are designed and used by people who have experienced this problem with air travel, and plenty more besides. Our aim is always to make travel easier, and with our unique modular cabin bag there is a separate compartment for valuables that can easily be zipped off and designed specifically to go under the seat in front for take-off and landing.