Anyone who knows me knows that I honestly believe that lines are for suckers. But the black-hole inevitability of the flight cattle-call lineup has never been something I could figure out how to avoid.
And so–like the sheeple all around me–I anxiously wait to board the plane in a herd formation every trip, sizing up the lady in front of me who’s clearly pushing the two carry-on rule with her luggage, purse, and tote. (The whole time I’m silently shouting: I CAN SEE YOU AND YOUR THIRD ITEM.)
Reading “Gaming the Luggage System” from the New York Times, I almost can’t believe this never occurred to me–to game the line, the fees, and the whole carry-on scenerio:
At the end of the jetway, before stepping onto the plane, Mr. Hamilton simply inquired if he could check his bag right there. A luggage handler who was waiting for strollers, car seats and other carry-on overflow was happy to oblige. “They put a tag on it and we boarded the plane,” he said. No charge. No stress. “When we got off, the bag showed up pretty quickly,” he added.
Pretty clever. And yet I still wouldn’t do it, because I don’t want to let my lovely luggage out of my own hands.
I’ve found my favorite bag of all (and this has been an epic 10-year quest). Every time I’m on a plane, someone comments on my bag and how much they like it. Judge for yourself:
Last time I took a cab back from the airport, the cabbie and I had a talk about my candy-colored hard-shell luggage, and how he normally only sees bags like that with Japanese travelers. I mentioned that the bag was actually from Japan, and he talked about being from Somalia, and the relative distance both he and the bag had traveled. I’m sorry–that kind of conversation just doesn’t happen with the square lookalike black roll-on.
I’m not shilling for the company that sells it. I’m not even going to provide a link to it, because that might make it seem like I was trying to sell something. (Although if you’re dying of curiosity, you can ask in the comments and I’ll provide it.)
It just simply makes me happy. It functions well and is lightweight. I definitely don’t take very much–it’s strictly a one-extra-pair-of-shoes situation. But it carries just enough, as in this action shot the night before two-week trip to the East Coast and Amsterdam:
When I was a broke-ass college student, I used to buy luggage for $5 at street fairs, and although this jelly bean luggage is a huge upgrade, the fact that it has a shiny blue interior like the 1950s train cases I still have from the vintage days adds to its appeal.
Considering how grumpy most people seem to be when it comes to the subject of luggage, air travel, and the like, I just wanted to testify that another option was possible. Gaming the luggage is clever, but unnecessary. You can be happy despite all the travails of the trip. You just need the right bag.
Preferably in yellow.