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How do you know when you can gate check a bag?

SField

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On smaller regional flights you can often check most bags right on the gangway before you board the plane, as long as they aren't massive suit cases. What is the cut off, and how do you know if you can do this? I'm traveling with a larger than normal bag this time for a 5 day trip but I have to make a dinner appointment like 30 min after I touch down so I don't want to sit there waiting for my bag that I checked when I got to the airport.
 

Douglas

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I think it's mostly the luck of the draw - depends on how aggressive the gate personnel are about enforcing rules. Technically most bags people carry on are too big to really be carry-ons: have you seen those little cages you're supposed to be able to fit your bag in for it to be a "legal" carry-on? They're barely bigger than a laptop bag.

I'd say take it and let them red-tag it on the gangway and be gracious about it and you're 95% likely to get away with it as long as it isn't egregious.
 

gnatty8

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Originally Posted by Douglas
I think it's mostly the luck of the draw - depends on how aggressive the gate personnel are about enforcing rules. Technically most bags people carry on are too big to really be carry-ons: have you seen those little cages you're supposed to be able to fit your bag in for it to be a "legal" carry-on? They're barely bigger than a laptop bag.

I'd say take it and let them red-tag it on the gangway and be gracious about it and you're 95% likely to get away with it as long as it isn't egregious.


My experience also. My rule of thumb is if it fits through the baggage screeners, you have a good chance of gate checking.
 

tj100

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Originally Posted by gnatty8
My experience also. My rule of thumb is if it fits through the baggage screeners, you have a good chance of gate checking.

That gate check scenario is, as far as I've understood it, to address the fact that small regional jets (ERJ's etc) don't have big enough overhead bins to fit 'legal' carry-ons (i.e. roll-a-boards). So if you have a carry on that you can get through security but is bigger than a small duffel bag, you'll probably wind up with the red tag.
 

zippyh

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I can't remember a recent flight where they didn't ask if anyone wanted to gate check.
This has been onboard and in the context of the bag not fitting in the overhead.
Pretty sure you could just ask at the gate before boarding.
These have all been Alaska Air flights btw.
 

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