I've visited nearly 50 countries and worked on three continents. In all my travels, I've never checked a bag at the gate. Seems unimaginable, right? Well, it's not.
We've all arrived at the airport, gone through TSA security, and arrived at our departing gate only to be told by the gate agent: Your luggage won't fit in the overhead compartment. Now you're being required to tag your bag and leave it on the jet bridge.
On my recent 30-minute delayed Seattle-to-Portland flight, passengers were frantic about missing their connecting flights. We were traveling on a regional aircraft and everyone was required to gate-check their luggage prior to boarding.
As we made our descent, the flight attendant asked those passengers with short connecting flights be given the courtesy to deplane first. How considerate! But getting off the plane first to only wait for your luggage in the galley does no one any good.
For me, however, I breezed by the fellow passengers. How did I do this?
Airlines don't insure cash, medication, securities, negotiable papers, irreplaceable documents, jewelry, silverware, precious metals, works of art, camera, electronic, and computer equipment, as well as any other items that cannot be easily replaced. Subsequently, they don't want the liability and won't require you to check your carry-on luggage with expensive or fragile items in it.
So whenever asked by the gate agent to check my luggage, I respond, "This is camera equipment." It works every time. Now, you should probably throw a lens and camera in your bag--you don't want to lie to the gate agent, and you might be asked to show proof (though, in all honesty, nobody's asked me for proof yet). Besides, you may want to actually take some photos during your trip.
This is a fool-proof way to always avoid checking your luggage and potentially even missing a connecting flight. Hopefully, my fellow Seattle-to-Portland flight passengers read this article before their next short layover. It'll save them a lot of stress.