Flight Attendants Battle 'Carry-on Crunch'

Survey says 80 percent of flight attendants sustained injuries from carry-ons.

March 25, 2010 — -- They battle with bulky baggage every day and now flight attendants are fighting back against what they're calling the "carry-on crunch."

Passengers are hauling bigger bags into airplane cabins and trying to stuff them into overhead bins. The Association of Flight Attendants says the carry-on bag binge is out of control.

The group surveyed its members and found that 80 percent of flight attendants have reported cuts, bruises, sprains and strains as a result of dealing with items in the overhead bins. They say it's a safety threat to both flight attendants and passengers.

Just over the past two months, the survey found that half of all flight attendants witnessed a carry-on item fall out of the bins, sometimes injuring passengers.

"As the plane was taking off the bin opened up and out of the bin a bottle of liquor fell, landed, and hit an unsuspecting man in the head," Rene Foss, spokesperson for the AFA told "Good Morning America." "He was injured and we had to give him first aid."

Foss and fellow flight attendant Bill McGlashen said they've seen it all, from a carry-on toilet to a home brewing kit for beer.

"We've had stories from senators, U.S. senators who have been traveling, who have been hit on the head," McGlashen said.

AFA President: Establish Reasonable Carry-On Limits

The AFA is lobbying the government to pass a bill before Congress that would make a universal maximum size for all carry-on bags.

"We now have compelling evidence that flight attendants and passengers are being injured by excess amounts of oversized carry-on items," Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President said on the group's Web site. "AFA-CWA has been urging Congress, government agencies, and carriers to establish reasonable carry-on limitations that will improve the overall safety, health and security of crew and passengers inside the aircraft cabin."

The group also launched a Web site called End Carry-On Crunch to encourage passengers to support the legislation.

According to Travelocity senior editor Genevieve Shaw Brown, it may take some time for travelers to adjust to such a restriction.

"I think it would benefit the flight attendant and passengers in the long run if there was one uniform size limit," Brown said. "The trouble is, in the short run, a lot of travelers are going to find themselves with carry ons that are too big, and they'll have to get smaller ones."

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