I have touched on this before, however I wanted to hit on it again as it is just another topic we cover in our 5 day Protective Detail Specialist Course.
Carry a bag for your Principal...... Does it make your Principal more vulnerable or less?
We as Executive Protection Practitioners should always be evaluating and mitigating the threat. Our hands should be kept free as to not have anything that comes between us grabbing our Principal to cover and evacuate or mitigate the threat as needed. So the short answer to this is, NO, if you are assigned as close-protection then you should not be getting the bags.
Now the long answer......................
As an Executive Protection Specialist, you are charged with the Safety and Security of your Principal. Safety and Security can be defined in a number of ways, but I assure you they all boil down to one thing.... The Well-being of your Principal, which includes keeping them safe from embarrassment or harm.
Scenario 1- Your Principal is flying into town, Advance is on scene and awaiting baggage to arrive. Should the advance guys grab the bags in order to expedite the Principals arrival? Or should they wait for some "Staffers" that do not have the same work ethic as you or the mission that you have signed on for. What is their sense of urgency? (Probably easier if manpower exists to designate someone to grab up the bags so there are no delays on departure).
Scenario 2- Your Principal is heading to a meeting, he is bringing a large trunk with some items that he is unveiling at a shareholder meeting. It is imperative that these items are there for the meeting, as this is the future of where the company is moving towards. You Principal is 65 years old and not in the greatest of health. Would it be more beneficial to let him pull this large trunk that weighs almost as much as him or can a guy on his Close-Protection Team, say, I have this Sir, no worries and still keep one hand free allowing the detail to move faster and save the Principal from any embarrassment when the wheel gets caught in the doorway, or worse he trips and falls while attempting to pull the trunk in.
Unless you are in a High Threat Environment with a direct threat, most of the time, you can lend a hand. Your Principal may not expect it, but I assure you they will be very appreciative of it when you extend it out.
You should never have any issues, if from the beginning the Principal is briefed up as to protocol. Not to say, you might have some over-zealous staffer or assistant that thinks he/she has the power and just throws you the bag expecting you to handle it. I would recommend you handle that in a Diplomatic fashion. Meaning, if it belongs to your Principal, then grab it up, make due and address the issue directly with your Principal later. If it doesn't belong to your Principal and most likely belongs to that staffer, then I can't advise you what to do. I may or may not smile then throw it off to the side on the curb for the homeless guy that might look good in a new suit. :)
Sometimes grabbing a bag does fall inline with keeping your Principal safe and secure. The guys that say they will never grab a bag, need to evolve. Because if your Principal turns to you and asks for assistance, and you decline..... You maybe looking for a new job. So if you are ok with that, then so be it. Otherwise, ensure you have a baggage plan put in place during your planning.
If you have a plan, it will always make things run smoother.