One of my peeves is people self upgrading luggage while boarding. Situation – Traveler is seated in economy but shoves their bag in Business class as they walk past the cabin. Or person is seated in row 54 but piles their bag overhead in row 12. This has to stop.

Self Upgrading luggage

I have noticed this sneaky behaviour for years and do not understand the “advantage” of having your bag so far removed from you. Cabin crew is usually wise to these antics and call out passengers for doing so. One of the simple tricks they deploy is to keep the business class overhead bins shut during boarding. This simple technique dissuades people from self upgrading their luggage. But this is far from a standard procedure and very inconsistent.

On a recent trip, seated in business class, I noticed a gentleman put his luggage in row 4 of the business class cabin and he walked past to his economy seat. I alerted the cabin crew who did the needful and had the baggage moved back. Apparently, he was an ‘elite’ passenger with the airline and did not think it was an issue. Right.

Personally, I cringe at anyone not seated in my row placing their bags before checking into their own rows. Obviously, with genuine lack of space, I am happy to share the overhead bin.Β Mind you, these are the same people that have complete disregard for others’ luggage and will simply shove their bags over things wrapped in fragile tape.

What are they thinking?

Presumably, the thinking is to avoid a full overhead bin and simply grab the bag on their way out? But what about the risk of stolen baggage or belongings while they sleep 20 rows behind?! No matter how light I travel, I carry personal belongings valuable enough to never consider my bags being that far away from me.

This practice of self upgrading luggage is far more prevalent in certain countries and regions of the world – India, Brazil, China, or Africa in general come to mind. For example, folks in India love traveling with 5 pieces of hand luggage (slight exaggeration of course) and will take whatever space they get irrespective of the rows they are seated in. And to my surprise, nobody around (including cabin crew) seems to bat an eyelid at that behaviour. Could this simply be a cultural difference or travel etiquette issue, rather than a sneaky move?

Surely, I am not the only one that has seen this inflight. Does it bother you as much or are you simply indifferent to people self upgrading luggage? Share your experience or thoughts with a comment below.Β