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While some have grumbled about United Airlines’ new basic economy fare that offers the cheapest price but restricts passengers from bringing a carry-on, at least one group loves the plan.
The Association Of Flight Attendants has applauded the move, saying a requirement to check luggage will reduce carry-on baggage and improve safety for crew and passengers.
“United’s move to encourage fewer carry-on bags, similar to practices at Frontier and Spirit, will create a safer cabin for passengers and crew. Excess bags in the cabin lead to flight attendant injuries, slower boarding times, and passenger altercations,” Sara Nelson, AFA International President, said in a statement. “Flight attendants manage these safety and security issues often under the pressure of on-time departures and during a critical period for ensuring the overall security of the flight. Footage from recent aircraft evacuations show that passengers grabbing these bags risks the lives of everyone onboard.”
United last week announced its new “Basic Economy” fares for 2017, designed to compete with no-frills, low-fare competitors, but including the caveat that for the cheapest fare possible you give up the luxury of a carry-on that will now have to be checked as regular luggage. United will only allow passengers with Basic Economy tickets to bring one item on board that can be stowed under the seat in front of them.
United says the new offering “provides the added benefit for customers and employees of simplifying the boarding process, as fewer customers will bring overhead bags on board.”
The AFA said it has long urged Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to establish standardized carry-on limitations to improve the overall safety, health and security of crew and passengers inside the aircraft cabin.
A 2010 AFA flight attendant survey documented regular injuries from carry-ons in overhead bins. The most common injuries were strained and pulled muscles in the neck, arms and upper back. The survey was compiled from a representative sample of the 60,000 AFA members at 22 U.S. airlines.