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Another good reason to pack carry-on only

Another good reason to pack carry-on only

Old May 15th, 2008, 10:18 AM
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Another good reason to pack carry-on only

I routinely pack carry-on only, and despite being what most people would describe as relatively high maintenance have no trouble packing as many toiletries, clothes, and shoes as I'll need to meet the requirements of the trips (most of which are a mix of work and leisure). I prefer it because I don't have to lug around a lot of unnecessary stuff, and so don't end up in situations where a lot of extra stuff gets in my way.

Today was a particularly good example. I was flying to Budapest from Atlanta, via Prague. We got to Prague a few minutes late, but I had an hour to make the connection to my flight on CSA and PRG is a small airport, so no problem, right? Except that there was a problem: the CSA flight had been cancelled altogether. And the next flight to Budapest wasn't until that evening. There was a non-CSA flight, on Malev, that departed earlier. I hadn't noticed it myself, but the two women standing in line in front of me at the CSA transit counter had, and asked if they could possibly be accomodated on the flight. The answer was no, and the explanation was a bit vague (some language limitation there), and they said fine.

So I ended up talking to the adjacent agent, and as he was gathering all the relevant info he asked me how many bags I'd checked and I said "None, hand luggage only." And he smiled and said, quietly, "There is a flight that leaves at 1:00. Come back in 10 minutes and I'll have your boarding pass ready." I then asked him, also quietly, if my getting on the earlier flight was due to my having no checked luggage, and he confirmed that that was the case. And a couple at the next agent down the counter, also without checked luggage, also got on the earlier flight.

Ten minutes later my boarding pass was ready as promised and I proceeded directly to the gate. As I was being checked in I overheard a woman asking one of the Malev gate agents whether the flight was sold out or not. The GA was a bit perplexed (I think she knew the woman wasn't on the flight) and asked why the woman wanted to know. She answered that they'd been told that it was completely booked. The GA answered that there was, in fact, plenty of space, but that it was now too late for them to be ticketed on the flight. I don't know if she went on the explain the luggage issue, or what the passenger's response was, as I was already boarding the plane.

Where I had an entire row of three seats to myself and a really nice couple of flight attendants.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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we had a similar situation when our flight to Rome was delayed by 4 hours. Because we had no checked in luggage we were put on an earlier flight.

Also, some airline allow passengers
to print boarding passes 24 hours before the flight , without luggage one goes straight to security - saves a lot of time hanging about airports!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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You are absolutely right about not checking bags. I don't mind keeping my luggage with me - the time saved is worth it!
I have always been able to pack one bag for a week. I operate from three colors - black, beige, and white. You would be surprised how many different outfits this will make. Adding several scarves also does the trick. It's so nice just getting off a plane and not waiting for a bag.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 10:42 AM
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Oh well done, what a stroke of luck, that's definitely worth remembering!

I too tend to travel light, and only check bags if I'm carrying prohibited stuff such as climbing gear. Of course there's the added bonus that the airline cannot lose or roughly handle any luggage that you have with you at all times.

Easyjet now has no weight restrictions for carry-on, making it an even more doable option.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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Hi Therese,

Please, what size carry-on do you use? Carry-on luggage comes is such varying sizes and weights. I'm still picking out a carry-on that I hope will meet a majority of airline's requirements.

Thanks!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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I totally agree after spending 3 wks. in France with just a carry on because they lost our luggage and we didn't get it back until 3 days after we got home.

I was very happy that I pack a good carry on, didn't have to buy a thing. Ooops! My husband had to buy a razor!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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On a trip from LAX to CDG on Delta, we had a three hour layover in Atlanta. As we exited our flight in Atlanta we noticed the gate across from ours listed a flight that was leaving for Paris very soon. We had just enough time to change our tickets and board. Saved hours of time. I'm all for carry-on when possible.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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On more occasions than I can count, thanks to carry-on only, I have been able to get on an earlier flight.
 
Old May 15th, 2008, 12:13 PM
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Yes, this flexibility with flights is one of the main reasons I often do carry-on only.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:23 PM
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i have been wondering if size of luggage (i will be checking mine) is an issue on Air France & Italia? i am heading to Italy, Greece & France for 3 weeks, really doubt i can take enough & still carry on.i plan to take a large bag to check & then one carryon. i know some airlines are really fussy about weight of your checked luggage, anyone know if i need to worry about this?

is there such a thing as a too large piece of luggage? thanks!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:50 PM
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If you have to take a seperate intra-European flight (i.e. not connect directly from an US-Europe flight) carry-on is usually an issue. Most airlines operate a rather strict regime re. measurements and weight. Weight restrictions can differ significantly, e.g. AerLingus 13lbs, AF 25lbs, Easyjet no limit.

I'd consult the airlines' websites, and check if FF status cards can increase the allowance, if applicable.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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In 97 I arrived at my honeymoon destination only to find that the airlines lost my bag. On my honeymoon if you can imagine! I've never checked a bag since then! It can really wreck your trip. Also not checking baggage allowed hubby and I to get bumped and upgraded on european flights twice! I find that I can fit everything I need in one small carry-on, and I'm not low maintenance by any means, so if I can do it anyone can! It's just not worth it to lose a bag and it makes special travel "opportunities" easier to take advantage of. I usually take a fold up suitcase that I may check on the way home filled with dirty clothes and I put my goodies in my carry on. That way if the bag does get lost, it's only dirty clothes and it's at the end of the trip!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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good reminder.

We recently flew the entire family (all 5 of us) to Florida over spring break... we were carrying-on luggage. Our flight was oversold and they were able to give us 5 flight coupons as well as get us on a better destination flight (we were limited b/c they were ff flights).

So... we used ff miles, got bumped to the city we wanted, and 5 free tickets... glad we'd not checked anything!!!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:58 PM
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thank you for your reply.

i am also going to be on an overnight ferry from Italy to Greece, then a cruise around the Greek islands...so i have no idea how the compartments are on the boats, as in will my suitcase be bigger than my room!

i will check w/airlines as i will be flying around between countries. feel like its the trains, planes, boats & automobiles trip!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Same here. One year I was flying from London to Boston Logan and on to SFO on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Normally a horrible travel day - and this was worse because of snow storms all over the NE flights were being cancelled left and right. My flight to SFO was cancelled. I notices a flight to San Jose that was boarding and figured "at least its on the west coast" so I ran to the gate and because I had no checked luggage they put me on the flight.

And the kicker - AA even paid for a taxi to get me from San Jose to near SFO (about 50 miles) where my car was parked.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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randnew: you need to go to the airline's website yourself and very carefully and specifically check that airline's rules for both checked and cabin luggage. Don't assume that AirFrance and Alitalia have exactly the same requirements (as you might think, given that they're both European airlines with an international presence and both participate in SkyTeam). And don't assume that the rules won't change, so check back if it's been a while since you've flown that airline.

That said, if you're connecting to an intraEurope flight on a TATL itinerary you don't usually have to worry about being dinged on your hand luggage. If it's a small plane they'll gate check it for you, and since it's a small plane you'll likely disembark via stairs rather than a jetway, and will be able to claim your luggage right then and there.

If you're doing point-to-point flights within Europe (especially if you're using super low cost carriers), pay very close attention to the rules and follow them. Push the edge of the envelope and you'll pay. A lot.

As for exceeding weight limits on checked luggage on mainline carriers, this really shouldn't be a problem. Unless you're transporting large volumes of liquid (water is very heavy) or professional equipment or perhaps books it would be difficult to exceed typical checked luggage weight limits. Clothes simply aren't that heavy.

My Malev flight from PRA to BUD was a medium size plane, a Fokker 70 I think, and just about everybody on the flight appeared to be carry-on only, and most of it business travellers.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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scotlib: I can tell you the exact dimensions of my carry-on because I recently went shopping to see if I could find one that more perfectly conformed to Delta's requirements (which have been rumored to be somewhat more rigidly enforced) as well as mine.

Here's what Delta says (as of today):

You can carry on one bag plus one personal item per passenger as long as it:
Weighs less than 40 pounds (18 kg).
Does not exceed 45 inches when you total length plus width plus height.
Fits easily in our SizeCheck® unit (approximately 22"x14"x9").
Fits in an overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of you.

In practice, Delta doesn't bother to weigh hand luggage, assuming that anything that conforms to the size requirements couldn't possibly weight 40 lbs unless it were full of bricks. And hardly anybody travels with a carry-on full of bricks these days.

Anyway, I took a tape measure with me to Target (which offers a broad range of luggage, ranging from no-name to Eddie Bauer and Swiss) and was a bit surprised to find that it was actually pretty difficult to find a piece that didn't cheat a bit on one or more of these measurements. So I didn't buy a new one, and instead used one of my old favorites (also from Target, an Eddie Bauer that dates from about 2003) that measures 19" x 14" x 9". So my suitcase is actually 3" shorter than Delta permits, and I still manage just fine.

I did also take a "personal item", which in this instance was a backpack that contained my toiletries and various books and gadget, as well as my purse (which fits inside the backpack when anybody's checking the number of carry-ons). And it still wasn't full.

One of the reasons that none of the available bags met my own requirements was that they were two heavy, largely because they'd been constructed with a section that "expands." A stupid and useless feature, IMO, that adds to the weight of the luggage. I happen to care about the weight because I've got some travel on RyanAir coming up, and there weight makes a big difference.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Heh heh: "at least it's on the west coast." San Jose and San Francisco are at least driving distance. Imagine the cab fare if you'd flown to San Diego!

I've got another "thank god we travel carry-on" story to relate, but it's sort of embarrassing. I'm going to need some encouragement to share it.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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Oh yeah, surfmom's story about the voucher reminds of the beginning of my flight yesterday. There was an equipment change ATL-PRG (which cost me my bulkhead seat booked months ago, but that's another story).

I'd checked in online so had to show my passport at the gate. I arrived at the gate a little over an hour before departure to find four agents, all of them dealing with some very irate passengers (most of them Czech). I finally got to the gate and asked, quietly, if coach was oversold. "Yes, the whole flight's oversold," she answered. "So business/first is also oversold?" I pressed. "Yes, we've had an equipment change." "Hm, well, I might have some flexibility... And I'm carry-on only," And it was that last phrase that made her sit up and notice.

Turns out they were offering $400 vouchers to take a flight to London and then connect to Prague. I offered to do it, but only if she could get me business/first on the TATL flight. Which she could, and and I was just about to insist on both the upgrade and the voucher when it occurred to me that my final destination was not Prague, but Budapest. So never mind.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 02:56 PM
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Thanks, Therese, for writing about your carry-on and the the idea of taking a measure tape while you shop. Keeping a close eye on your airline's web site for specifics and changes in policy is also excellent advice!

Thank you!
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