Most travelers go on trips and try to make their trip comfortable and relaxing by taking with them things that remind them of home or taking clothes are appropriate for each occasion. As a result, many travelers are stuck with tons of baggage that they have to carry from airport to airport. When they add to this the bags that they have checked in, very few of them are able to manage without using luggage carts.
There used to be a time when these luggage carts were free all over the world. It was a comfortable sight to see them waiting all in a row, to be used for the heaviest of tasks, one that will enable us to walk lighter allow us to use our limbs freely.
Most of the time, our problems are usually centered around getting the luggage carts when we need it and keeping them until we don’t. Many airports do not have the luggage carts waiting for us at the check-in parking lots and some airports also require that we stop using them before entering the security lines. This is very inconvenient especially for families who have extra carry-on for children, food, items bought from duty-free shops, etc.
Most airports in Asia and Europe as well as some airports in other countries are STILL happy to provide these carts absolutely free for tired travelers. The United States is the one rich country that cannot help but fleece the poor traveler without even offering a luggage cart to help them carry their burdens. Even in most international baggage claim areas, the airports in US require visitors to have US currency immediately for luggage cart rentals! This does not give a good impression to visitors from abroad!
This practice of renting luggage carts rather than offering them for free could have been started to discourage people from bringing so much luggage into the airport and thereby adding more weight to the planes that are taking off and landing. It may be the same reasoning that made some airports actually refund a part of the cart fee when it was returned to its rightful place after use. This may have encouraged people and provided them an incentive to keep the airport clean of unwanted carts littering the pathways and injuring other travelers or their children.
Airports such as New York JFK have very few carts and travelers have to put in three dollar bills to get a cart (We could get a decent meal for slightly more than that amount!). Also, at JFK, there are very few people to help you get a cart if the cart dispenser does not work and even if you are traveling with children and are tired from an international trip with crying babies and loud passengers.
I needed a cart last year when I collected my luggage from an international trip to JFK. After I went through the customs, I tried to check my luggage in again for the domestic leg of the trip back to my hometown. I was asked to take my luggage up an elevator , into a train! While rushing to push the cart into the train, he wheels of the cart got jammed in the rut of the train door and somehow with sheer force I pushed it free just before the door closed!
Its important to make sure that the cart that you get works well, especially since you are paying for it! There are a few methods you can use to get luggage carts at the airports even when they are available only for a fee:
Scan the baggage claim area
First check around the baggage claim area system to see if there are any free carts lying around. People may have paid the money and retrieved them from the carts dispenser. Sometimes, the luggage that they expected did not come through and they will have to leave the area to make a claim at the luggage office, etc. If they decide that they don’t need it, then they may just leave it near the baggage claim. Make sure that there is no one around who could come back looking for it. Only take it if it seems that no one is using it.
Get the abandoned ones
Go to the pick up area where the travelers load their luggage into the taxis or cars. There may be several carts leaning on the wall or left close to the building sides by tired travelers who can’t think of any reason to get back into the crowded building. Sometimes the pick up area may be far away from the luggage cart dispenser. Most travelers are tired after the long airplane flights and the last thing on their minds maybe that of returning the carts to get their few dollars back. These travelers usually leave the cars where they can and quickly get into their cars or taxis and drive off. There will be several carts lying around that area.
Make some cash
When you are in the process of getting carts, there may be opportunities to make some cash. If there are extra carts lying around, you can push them all together back into the into the cart dispenser to get some of the refund money. If not, you can distribute it to the passengers who are planning to put the money into the cart dispenser for good karma!
People may be returning to the baggage claim area to return their carts. Halfway through their walk, they may be thinking if its worth it to take it back all the way to the cart dispenser. You can intercept them and smile while asking them if they would like you to take the cart back. Or just tell them you were looking for a cart. Most people immediately will hand over the cart to you. Don’t be surprised if there are many people, however, who are willing to go the rest of the distance to get their deposit back. Tired or not, some people just don’t like to give anything for free.
These are some of the ways to get luggage carts for free in the airports where they usually charge for it. Compared to the air tickets, this may be a paltry sum, so make sure that even if you did not get a “free” cart, you will now allow it to spoil your vacation!