Public Service Announcement: Stand The Hell Back From The Airport Baggage Carousel, Thanks

If you fly more than once a decade, you’ll doubtless have seen the above scenario (photographed at the Calgary airport on my way back from my CES 2010 disaster trip). People line up to get their baggage at the carousel, but rather than everyone standing back a couple of feet so more people can see their bag coming, 99.9% of people cram right up to the rail, often leaning in to see what’s coming – completely blocking the view for everyone else. What ends up happening of course is that you see your bag as it passes right in front of you, and you loudly exclaim “Excuse me!” as you lunge for your bag before it goes by. When I was at the Las Vegas airport, an elderly gentlemen and I were standing a few feet back while everyone else crammed and scurried in front of us. He exclaimed “When I was in kindergarten I learned to take my turn – what’s wrong with these people?”. Preach it old man!

People, it’s just common sense: stand back a bit and only step forward to grab your bag when you see it coming. Thank you – this ends the public service announcement.

  • JR

    Amen indeed! This has bothered me for years. I’ve often wondered why airport’s don’t just put a yellow line around the carousel at a two-foot distance and see if people catch on. They could even put lettering on the floor that says “Step forward to collect your bag” or something like that. Still, the fact that we even need to talk about this is a sad commentary on common sense.

  • JR,
    Glad to hear I’m not alone in thinking this…! πŸ™‚

  • Jeremy Charette

    I like JR’s suggestions, but here’s my approach: as soon as I find my carousel, I look for the exit to the bag chute, and figure out what direction the bags will be going. Then I stand RIGHT at the end of the chute. Huge time and frustration saver.

  • Jeremy,
    I’m afraid to say that you’re doing exactly what I’m talking about: putting yourself in the line of site for the bags, blocking everyone’s view – and the next person doubtless lines up right next to you, and the next, and the next…so while it might be a time saver for you, it makes it harder for the other people to see their bags. πŸ™

    UPDATE: OK, I completely mis-read your comment Jeremy…I’m so tired today, my brain isn’t working well. Your system seems like a good one. Sadly all the airports I typically fly into – Calgary, Las Vegas, Seattle – don’t have the type of baggage systems you’re talking about. There is no exit, they just go round and round…

  • Cold Flame

    Jeremy Charette can’t possibly be in the line of site for everyone because he’s at the far end of the luggage carousel where it goes back through the door. If it goes past there, it’s out of sight anyway for 30 seconds or however long until it re-emerges at the beginning on the far side. I have to admit I do exactly as he does. You’re not blocking anyones view because they can’t see it once it goes through that door.

    That being said, in certain airports such as Calgary, it’s simply a round carousel and the luggage loads from the middle, so it’s never out of sight. He obviously is using a different airport which is what I’m talking about too. In the case of most of the carousels in Calgary, there is no “end”. It just goes around and around without ever leaving the public’s eye.

    BUT, I do agree, it is frustrating! I hate when people crowd the line waiting. I have no compassion when I shove people out of the way when I need to get my bag. If they used common sense I wouldn’t have to do that to begin with!


  • Cold Flame,
    Yeah, I see what you mean – I updated my comment. I don’t seem to be going to any airports like that – other than Mexico if memory serves. Oh, and Okinawa. πŸ˜‰

  • Cold Flame

    lol… I can relate to the whole being exhausted with a non-functioning brain. This week has been RIDICULOUS.

  • Jeremy Charette

    Let’s see if I can explain it better. If it’s a carousel that comes out of the wall and goes back into it on the other end, I stand at the opening where the bags are coming out. That way I don’t have to wait for my bag to go all the way around the carousel before I can grab it. If it’s an endless carousel like Calgary or JFK, I stand at the end of the chute that dumps bags on the carousel. Again, so I don’t have to wait for my bag to go all the way around the carousel before I can grab it.

    I hate people who stand right next to the carousel just as much as the next guy, but frankly, 95% of the people in airports act like jerks, and wishing they wouldn’t isn’t going to change anything. My approach is be as courteous as possible, but firm. I refuse to let myself to get shoved around just because someone else can’t grow an ounce of patience. I get my bag as quick as I possibly can and get the heck out of that cluster(bleep!).