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Letters Annex

Bugged by Bag Rules

March 01, 1998

Quoting checked baggage statistics is fine, if it's not your bag that's lost ("Airlines Want to Lighten the Heavy Carry-On Load," Travel Insider, Feb. 15). It is quite irrelevant that the airlines reunite four out of five passengers with their luggage within 24 hours of arrival.

Have you tried shoving formal wear into a small carry-on bag, especially when it is needed first thing the next morning? Try asking [airlines] what their policy is on this and how much they really care.

Only when they begin caring and stop losing luggage at all, will passengers feel secure in handing over their belongings. Perhaps if the airlines felt compelled to be more responsible, then their customers would feel better about trusting them.

BRIAN DZYAK

Encino

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I cannot understand why passengers and travel writers act like sheep on the subject of carry-on luggage. The real problem isn't that passengers disobey the rules, it is that airlines are trying to deflect attention from their own greed.

Over the years, airlines have been adding seats and decreasing the distance between rows, destroying comfort and seriously compromising safety. Apparently these are acceptable ways to increase airline profits.

One thing airlines can't do, however, is increase storage space. Overhead space is fixed, and under-seat space shrinks as the seats shrink. Passengers must now crowd into planes intended for fewer bodies and fewer carry-on bags. Surely airlines knew all along that this would cause problems. How facile to blame those problems on "selfish" passengers, even though most people obey the rules.

Airlines now plan to punish passengers further for their reasonable desire to avoid the inconvenience or risk of checking baggage. To add insult to injury, the passengers confined to increasingly steerage-like conditions because they can't afford expensive seats must now suffer added carry-on restrictions. How is that fair?

KAY M. GILBERT

Santa Monica

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