thoughts in my own, personal opinion
eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD
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When a person is caught
between two opposing forces, that person gets squeezed. And, in
the case of airline Carry-On bags, frequent business travelers have literally been
feeling the squeeze for far too long.
started with the airlines’ revenue enhancing model of ‘unbundling’ – where things
that used to be included in the price of an airplane ticket were extracted and
charged-for separately. ‘Want to sit in the exit row? Want to check a bag? Pay-up.’
Any intelligent business traveler will tell you they’d never check a bag
anyway. There are just way too many –
very likely - business-trip-ruining scenarios when a business traveler stupidly
separates themselves from their possessions on a flight. However, when the airlines started charging
to check a bag, many of ‘the great
unwashed’ - leisure travelers - stopped checking them
too - to avoid paying fees. When that
happened, the already packed overhead bins got even crazier. At that point the airlines started reinforcing
their ‘bag sizers’ more than they ever did before. These little exports from hell facilitate the typical gate agent lie that “if your bag won’t fit in our sizer it won’t
fit on the plane.” I’ve debunked and documented
that BS many times in the past. The
airlines are generally too dishonest to just tell you it has nothing to do with
the size of the overhead bins. The reality
is they just want to put arbitrary limits on what you take on the plane – so that’s
what they do.
result, we frequent travelers have had to find ways to cope. As for me, I’ve permanently switched to a
four-wheel rolling half suitcase / half duffel – the Kipling Darcey Small
Printed Wheeled Luggage Carry. With
its soft sides I can fit more of my stuff into it than a bag with more rigid
sides. And – its main disadvantage is
its main advantage – it doesn’t expand.
No matter what I stuff into it, it will always fit into any sizer. To make this all work there are some items I
just don’t pack. I’m forced to hit a
store on slightly longer trips to buy some of the things I couldn’t fit. If I want to keep them I’ll check a spare bag
on the way home – when that bag being late or lost matters less – or I’ll just
throw them away at the destination (see Johnny Pillowseed
for an exaggerated example.) So problem
solved, right? Nope.
crack staff at Newark’s TSA checkpoint asked to inspect my bag last time I
traveled through it last week. It didn’t
matter that I had Pre-Check on my boarding pass. It didn’t matter that I paid my $100 and had
a background check and interview to become a Trusted Traveler under the Global
Entry program. All that mattered is that
they wanted to fondle my shampoo bottle and other toiletries. There was nothing wrong with them of course. After feeling-them-up they said “have a nice
day” and let me close it all up. I was
incredibly lucky that that trip was just three days long – and re-closing my
stuffed bag was not an issue. Tomorrow
however (as I write this) I’m leaving for a seven day trip. I already needed a hammer and grease to get
everything I needed into the bag. If the
TSA wants to fondle my shampoo again it will take hours to re-close everything
in there. I’d probably have to re-pack
some of the stuff into a spare nylon bag I have and check it, as it would be
way too painful to try to get it all back in there at the checkpoint. Mind you, I definitely feel more safe that the TSA – who
missed 70% of weapons the last time they were tested – took the time to
make sure my shampoo bottle didn’t exceed 3 ounces.
there’s the latest squeeze – incented by the airlines to bring a smaller bag
(and literally jam everything in until nothing more will fit) yet incented by
the TSA to pack everything loosely as they may want to rummage through all of it
(regardless of any invasive check we have participated in in advance.) Clearly
these two driving forces are in conflict, and we, the frequent travelers, are
the ones squeezed in the middle.
will this squeeze be fixed? I have no
idea. However, I do know if you squeeze
something long enough it will pop. I hope
that pop is one we all don’t regret.
This article was written by David Danto and
contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under
prevailing fair use statutes.