Whine Wednesdays: Chaos At The Check-In Counter – Long Lineups & Passengers Repacking Luggage


This week our Whine Wednesday is about the situation at check-in counters for certain flights where passengers seem to be especially disorderly and the airline mismanages the process on top of it all.

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Chaotic situations at check-in can have multiple reasons but usually it’s a combination of different factors that lead to excessive wait time to drop off baggage or pick up the boarding pass.

It usually starts with mismanagement of the process itself when an airline doesn’t have representatives available to reign passengers in as to how to get in line and where to do things that aren’t directly related to the check-in process (send these people away from the counter!).

When I took the Air Canada flight from Taipei to Vancouver the other day it was just such a situation. The lineup for regular Economy Class counters was endless and the space quite small:

I’m quite lucky I didn’t have to deal with that line, another reason why I can’t imagine traveling without airline status anymore. Flying Economy Class is one thing but dealing with all the chaos on the ground another one. I took Premium Economy on this flight to try out Air Canada’s product and discovered that AC has a collective check-in counter for all Elite/Business Class/Premium Economy Passengers:

This is a crazy system. There was exactly ONE counter that serves:

  • Business Class
  • Premium Economy Class
  • Star Alliance Gold
  • Air Canada Prestige (Silver 25k level)
  • Latitude Fares

You gotta ask yourself who else is left after this ensemble of eligible guests. There is one separate counter for Air Canada Super Elite where nobody was waiting, except that the counter was blocked by two passengers repacking their huge suitcases and the staff didn’t seem to care or send them to the side.


Airlines should have agents or at least line managers who keep passengers in check so they don’t congest the lines, especially at airports that have a tendency for Chaos and passengers with lots of baggage.

If passengers need to repack their suitcases because they exceed the weight allowance or whatever other reason then they should be sent away from the counter to a repacking area or common terminal space. It’s crazy that some agents tolerate when people block an entire check-in counter for extended periods of time while other passengers are in line waiting. Can’t manage your baggage properly? Then go to the back of the line!