Gate-Checking Your Carry-On Means No Standing In Boarding Lines

gate checking carry-on

Unsplash/Rui Silvestre

Hello, hundred people standing at the airport gate while every boarding group except yours is called. Your life doesn’t have to be this way. We know you’re worried about trying to squeeze your technically-too-big bag into the limited overhead bin space. However, have you ever considered… not doing that? We’re here to blow your mind and tell you that gate-checking your bag is the way to go.

What is gate-checking? We’re glad you asked because it’s about to make your life a lot easier. Gate-checking is when you give your carry-on bag to the airline at the gate and they put it in the cargo hold, AKA where checked bags normally go. The difference, though, is that gate-checking is free. You can then hop on the plane with your purse or backpack, leave the naive travelers who didn’t gate-check to squabble over the available overhead compartments and just pick your suitcase up at the baggage claim when you arrive at your destination.

gate checking carry on

Unsplash/Scott Webb

It’s that easy. And with airplanes cutting down more and more on valuable overhead storage space, it’s pretty common to get the gate-checking option. When you reach your assigned gate, listen for an announcement asking for volunteers to gate-check and jump on that opportunity. Once your big, heavy, cumbersome suitcase is taken care of, you can make last-minute bathroom and snack runs and slide into your seat on the plane once the line has dissipated.

Now, gate-checking a bag means your bag will be out of your control. Like any checked bag, it might get thrown around a bit in transit. Make sure any valuables or breakables stay with you in a purse or backpack stashed under the seat in front of you.

We’d also recommend putting any absolute necessities in there as well, from a toothbrush to any travel documents to your phone charger. You never want to plan for lost luggage, but it’s better to be prepared. And don’t forget to transfer over any in-flight entertainment options or snacks — you’ll definitely miss those once they’re far away in the cargo hold and you’re left to a measly pack of peanuts or pretzels.


Pack Smart: These Airlines Have Tricky Baggage Rules

The Definitive Pre-Flight Checklist From Booking Your Ticket To Boarding The Plane

Only Want To Bring A Carry-On? Here’s Your Long Weekend Packing Guide