Stressed-Out Gate Agent Will Not Tolerate Tiny Purses On United Airlines Flights

Jarrod and his wife were returning from their vacation, flying United. Their flight was delayed, and they encountered a gate at 3 A.M. with a single employee working. They went to board their flight, and Mrs. Jarrod had a camera bag, a large shoulder bag, and a tiny travel pouch over her arm. Other airline personnel overlooked the tiny pouch, not even counting it as a “bag” for carry-on luggage purposes. Instead, the agent became just a little unhinged, not allowing Mrs. Jarrod on the flight until she nestled the little bag inside one of her other bags.

Wait, if one bag fits inside the other, what is the problem exactly?

My wife was carrying a camera bag, a large bag (kind of like an oversized purse) and a very small travel pouch/purse over her shoulder. Yes, we realize that we’re supposed to be limited to “one carry on item and one personal item”, but the small shoulder pouch barely took up any space and we thought it insignificant. In fact, we didn’t have any issues boarding the flight from Hawaii to San Francisco.

As the agent scanned my wife’s ticket, he looked her over and as she started to walk away he shouted at her, “you can’t carry on three bags! You’re limited to just two.” My wife asked why since the small purse was so very insignificant. He said “it’s the airline policy and that she would need to put the smaller purse into one of the other bags.” My wife, said “OK, I’ll do it” and started to walk down the jetway. He yelled at her again, “NO, RIGHT NOW!” Embarrassed, my wife fumbled about trying to put her small purse into the larger bag… and he proceeded to delay the boarding while he watched her put the purse into her larger bag. Laying it on top of the open larger bag/purse wasn’t enough. It had to be inside the bag. She eventually shoved it in and started walking down the jetway without additional issue.

As soon as we were down the jetway, my wife pulled the purse out of the bag and had no issues boarding the plane or storing it underneath the seat in front of her with her other bag.

I guess this serves as a warning that thou shalt not carry any bag, no matter how small, in excess of the two you’re allowed. But we think the situation could have been handled differently and in a more professional manner. Maybe by politely reminding us of the policy instead of being abrupt. In any event, I just had to vent. Thanks for listening.