Sick of Fighting for Airplane Overhead Bin Space?

Learn the secret to getting your carry-on luggage on the plane without a hassle.

ByABC News
November 10, 2009, 5:17 AM

Feb. 3, 2010 — -- Not to get personal, but are you a cheater? Are you one of those passengers who heads to the gate with a clearly overstuffed or oversized carry-on bag, confident in the knowledge that an overwhelmed gate agent will simply take your bag and check it for free?

OK, so sometimes crime pays but not always, so don't count on this. Yet I know you want to avoid those bag fees, because they're just awful, aren't they?

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Well, they are and they aren't. Let's be blunt: the airlines are in trouble, and much as we may hate it, they need those newly-raised bag fees to stay aloft -- fees that could bring in as much as $2 billion, this year alone.

Sure, some things drop in price -- maybe Apple's iPad? -- but don't hold out hope for bag fees. We'll just keep paying and paying.

Solution: don't check bags. And perhaps somewhat surprisingly, U.S. airlines are pretty liberal when it comes to carry-ons, certainly compared to some overseas carriers.

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For instance, compare the home team's regulations with the draconian carry-on rules for Europe's Ryanair. Yes, Ryanair still allows you one carry-on bag but when they say one, they mean one. Laptop? That's one carry-on. So is a purse. And so is that fancy shopping bag from the Via Veneto. Show up with two items and Ryanair can stop you from boarding and refuse to give you a refund. Harsh.