This post may contain affiliate links from our advertising partners, such as American Express. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here.
Normally when you fly these days, airlines will do everything they can to have passengers gate check their carry-on bags to avoid taking them on the plane to take up space.
As Point Me to the Plane points out, they’ve even rolled out a new service in some of their hubs where they will come around the gate area and take your bags and put them in the overhead bins for you, called Early Valet.
However, on my recent flight out of Las Vegas on Delta that was not the case. In fact, on this flight they specifically said that any carry-on bags passengers had must be put in the overhead bin, as they couldn’t gate check any bags since our flight was payload optimized.
There can be several reasons as to why a flight could become Payload optimized, however in this case from Las Vegas, we were weight restricted to the extreme temperatures. Essentially, there wasn’t enough space available in the cargo hold area to accommodate all planned bags and cargo as well as the fuel needed, so they couldn’t take any more carry-on bags.
The pilot even made an announcement that if you couldn’t find a space for your carry-on you’d have to get off the plane as well. Luckily, after taking about a 15 minute delay, space was found for all bags and no one was involuntary denied boarding.
Sometimes for payload optimized flights, if the cabin is weight restricted, they will deny boarding for standby passengers and in some cases even solicit volunteers to get off the plane.
Has anyone else experienced a payload optimized flight before? What was the outcome?
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This post was accurate at the time of posting, offer may be unavailable on this site at a later time. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.