Finally! Your Freedom to Travel...

Check-in or Carry On…More Than a Weighty Question

 Doesn’t it seem like most airlines will try almost anything to make a buck? I was surprised to learn on my last flight that it now costs more to sit in the exit-row seats on some carriers…but that’s fodder for another blog. My subject today, as you might have gathered, is luggage.

 Frankly, the new policy many airlines have of charging for checked bags hasn’t been an issue for me. I pride myself on being a light packer; it thrills me to not pack shoes (relying solely on the ones on my feet) and bums me if I’ve packed something I don’t wear. Thus, I’m a devoted carry-on gal. In addition to eliminating the potential of having my luggage get lost or delayed (something that’s happened to me three times in the past 30-odd years), keeping my luggage with me affords me the opportunity to deplane and breeze right out of the airport…saving time and aggravation at the baggage claim carousel.

 If you’re going to carry on, you need to be aware of the airline’s rules and certain practicalities: You’re not typically allowed to get on a plane with more than two carry-on items, typically a suitcase and a “personal item” like a purse or briefcase. I find some airports are pretty militant about this (O’Hare), while others seem to be laxer (San Diego).

Be sure your carry-on is actually a carry-on. That’s right; your bag must fit in the overhead compartment and allow it to close. It amazes me how some people will get on board with a giant suitcase or duffel bag and then have an issue with fit, which brings me to my next point…

If you aren’t able to lift your bag into the overhead yourself, you shouldn’t be carrying it on. I know this might sound harsh, but that’s the way I feel. Most airlines instruct their employees not to help passengers with bags, for fear they may injure themselves, and it’s really not right to rely on other passengers’ muscle.

If you bring two bags on board, one should be under the seat in front of you. Putting two bags in the shared overhead space is just rude.

 If any of this seems too onerous for you, perhaps you need to bite the bullet and pay for your bags to ride in the baggage compartment. Don’t look for me at baggage claim!