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Thread: Under Seat Bag Storage: A Cautionary Tale

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    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Under Seat Bag Storage: A Cautionary Tale

    A friend recently travelled with his wife to Minneapolis (airline to go unnamed). As per his usual practice he stored his backpack under the seat in front of him and then proceded to plug himself into his talking books. Apparently, he inadvertantly pushed the pack far forward. When a passenger claimed that seat and found the pack on the floor, he gave the pack to the stewardess saying, "Someone left this here." She proceeded to remove the pack from the plane without checking with any of the surrounding passengers. When my friend decided to put his iPod away, he discovered his pack missing from under the seat. Upon asking the passenger in front of him whether the pack was at his feet, he learned the fate of the pack. Now for the caution, it took over two weeks, making some 30+ phone calls and experiencing much rudeness and lack of cooperation from airline employees regarding his pack. Apparently, carry on does not rate the same "protections"(hah!) as checked bags and the airlines owe you nothing. What stuck in my friend's craw was that he had repeated phone calls with an employee who had the pack sitting in her office and who refused to help him. Eventually she ageed send it to him when he prepaid FedEx to do so. He eventually did that and his pack was returned to him (with nothing missing!). After a written complaint to the company, he was quickly reimbursed for the FedEx costs. The moral of the story? Keep your eye on your underseat luggage. Luckily he had nothing of value in the pack: a few books, writing implements, a paper notebook, a sweater and jacket. Had it contained his laptop and/or other expensive gear, who knows how "lucky" he would have been.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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    Yikes! Good to know! Weird that no one thought to say, "Hey, does this belong to anybody?" before they took off with it. I'm frankly 100% surprised he was able to get that bag back. I've always had the habit of kind of sticking my foot through the strap of my under-the-seat backpack for no particular purpose, but now I know why! LOL

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    Wow! Your friend was indeed lucky, especially given the fact that he might not have thought to put identification tags on a bag that he intended only to have onboard and not to check. Not to defend the airline--and those that know me know that I almost never do!--but it is against airline policy to have underseat bags that extend into the next row's non-underseat foot well area, or for that matter, that protrude into one's own well area. This area is supposed to be kept clear for easy escape from the row if need be. So backpacks that don't actually fit underseat completely in one's own underseat area are not allowed as underseat cabin baggage. Of course, what they should have done is ask loudly whose it was--it is inexcusable that this wasn't done.
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    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    Your post made me google in-flight theft, and I just found out it's not uncommon! Your friend is lucky indeed, as backwards as that sounds. I will definitely be more vigilant ( I always want to say "vigitant" like Dogberry in Much Ado) next time I fly. I'm especially sorry it happened on the way to Minneapolis! I feel complicit, as I'm a resident.

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    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Believe me, you weren't complicit, Rocks, as you well know. And, Flitcraft, the bag did indeed fit under the seat without protruding. My friend likely pushed it forward inadvertently with his own feet. The bag was very lightly packed and he didn't notice any resistence...and besides that, he was checked out and not paying enough attention...enough blame to go all around. Chiro, I'm with you; I always stick my foot through the strap of an under seat bag.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=monkeylady;52907]Believe me, you weren't complicit, Rocks, as you well know.

    haha, I meant to add a wink. Though Minnesotans can be like the English, apologizing when someone steps on your foot for being in their way!

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    [QUOTE=Rocks;52910]
    Quote Originally Posted by monkeylady View Post
    Believe me, you weren't complicit, Rocks, as you well know.

    haha, I meant to add a wink. Though Minnesotans can be like the English, apologizing when someone steps on your foot for being in their way!
    Haha! As a fellow Minnesotan, I resemble that remark

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    Registered User itsablur's Avatar
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    Strange. I spend a lot of time commuting to client offices by plane and know this can't happen on a lot of the planes I'm on. Air Canada for example has a rail across the front of the under seat area to prevent this from happening. I also figured it was a good safety feature to prevent the person in front of you from stealing your bag, or to keep you from disturbing them by kicking a bag into them. Glad they got the bag back, though it sounds like the airline cheaped on some basic plane configuration options...

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    I recommend carabiners or tie wrap.

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    Registered User Fat Crip's Avatar
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    This interesting. I can't remember ever seeing a plane seat that didn't have a bar under the seat to stop bags traveling forward in a crash. Broken lower limbs are, after all, a major impediment to the rapid evacuation of the cabin. Standards may be different in the US.

    Also, all over Europe, the use of all electronic equipment, and especially headphones, is prohibited until after takeoff and until the fasten seatbelt sign has been switched off. Again, are standards different on your side of the pond?


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    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Apparently my friend traveled on a plane without a stop bar under the seat. I've seen a few in my day, too. Here you are allowed to plug yourself in as soon as you board until you are instructed otherwise, during takeoff and a short period of time afterward. As I said, for reasons unknown to me, it appears that my friend was quite checked out and did not track the whereabouts of his backpack until too late. I posted this to remind all of us to track our belongings, especially since there is not much of a helpful attitude on the part of airlines in this country regarding this problem.


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    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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    I had a laptop slide back and hit my foot. Of course I asked the lady in front of me if it was hers. It was so no problem as far as I was concerned. If it wasn't I would have gotten the FA involved.

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    Former airline employee here, and frequent traveler for decades. It would be very dangerous to loop a bag strap around one's ankle. In an emergency evacuation that could seriously impede your own and others' exit from your row. The better strategy is a carabiner to attach the bag to the seat leg. Also, be sure always to have an external nametag on all bags, plus an internal tag with personal information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FunNut View Post
    Former airline employee here, and frequent traveler for decades. It would be very dangerous to loop a bag strap around one's ankle. In an emergency evacuation that could seriously impede your own and others' exit from your row. The better strategy is a carabiner to attach the bag to the seat leg. Also, be sure always to have an external nametag on all bags, plus an internal tag with personal information.
    I keep a Tom Bihn luggage tag filled out with name and address information secured to the inner o-Ring at the top of my Synapse backpack. (Of course, since there have been no TB luggage tags available for sale for some time, others may have a harder time following this practice.). In case the luggage tag of my Tri-Star goes missing, or I'm traveling with someone who gets another bag that they need to check during the course of a trip, I can transfer the tag. This is a quick way to ensure there is a tag for the bag.

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    having a luggage tag on your bag identifying you as the owner is always a good idea!

    reading this, i think an o-ring + a longer key strap + a carabiner could provide a way to secure the bag to something under the seat in front of you such that the bag can't be removed without some effort, but is still accessible to you while you're sitting at your seat.

    darcy, what do you think about a longer strap for this purpose? perhaps 16" or 20"? the carabiner could be attached at one end.

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