Travel hack: This travel hack doesn’t work.
A travel journalist from the Australian publication Escape has made news for getting caught trying to avoid excess baggage fees by stuffing her laptop (and other items) into the stretchy jumpsuit she was wearing and attempting to fake a pregnancy bump.
Rebecca Andrews posted a video to her Instagram feed boasting about the hack that she, herself, described as “uncreative” and “the laziest idea” she had ever had. As a reminder, it did not work and she got caught.
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“I have a small frame and decided pretending to be preggo was the most believable route to a successful hack,” she said, which, again, was not believable at all as she was caught. She went on to say: “A woman’s body can create human life, so exploiting this unique ability we have to save myself $60 was just obvious.”
So, where did she go wrong? Well, Andrews didn’t act quite as pregnant as she needed to. She walked fully upright like a non-pregnant person and was the very last person to board her flight, despite many airlines giving pregnant women priority boarding. She apparently then dropped her ticket and the outline of her laptop could be seen. That’s when she was caught.
Her hack not working didn’t seem to have much of an effect on Andrews, who went on to brazenly say: “Was I embarrassed? Not at all. I felt like a badass. A hot pregnant badass.” She admitted that her only regret was not having a backup story in case she was busted, which, again, she was. She claims she’d do it again.
Andrews also claims that she’s serially scammed her way into taking more items onto an airplane. In the past, she’s been known to double- and triple-layer her clothes. She’s also faked pregnancies “here and there”–the difference in this situation, and also her demise, was the addition of the stuffing her laptop into her jumpsuit.
This obviously isn’t the first time anyone has tried to trick an airline into letting them bring more things onto a plane. There are many stories of passengers wearing all of their clothes at once to avoid baggage fees, and even one of a boyband member from Glasgow collapsing during a flight while wearing too many layers of his clothes after successfully bypassing an excess baggage charge, proving that this hack can fail (and be very dangerous) even if it, at first, succeeds.
However, sometimes it works. One frequent flyer swears by his hack of stitching a bunch of things into his jacket so he doesn’t have to pack them—which, honestly, is pretty smart as it’s sure not to overheat him. Essentially, his coat is packed like an oversized, wearable purse. Bravo. Hacks can work.
So what’s the workaround if you don’t have time to stitch all of your items into a coat or want to put yourself at risk for heat exhaustion or be found out as a non-pregnant “badass” with your laptop in your pants? Getting yourself a good carry-on bag and knowing just how to pack it efficiently is one option. Away’s The Bigger Carry-On is an excellent choice, as is Briggs & Riley’s Commuter Expandable Upright, which uses CX technology to expand up to 33%, then compresses back down to original size to store in the overhead compartment. Knowing when to roll your clothes and when to fold them in your carry-on is also key.
INSIDER TIPRolling is best for small items made of synthetic fibers such as nylon shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops. Folding is better for bulky items like jeans.
Packing an efficient carry-on that doesn’t necessarily include everything you own might be one option, though, obviously, this won’t always work because sometimes you have a lot of stuff and need to bring it with you. I get it. There are several airlines that let you check a bag or two for free or allow extra carry-ons, so you won’t have to worry about excess fees at all. Southwest Airlines and Cape Air, for example, both offer free checked bags. There are clever ways to get around weight restrictions for bags that do not involve shoving your belongings into your clothes, such as redistributing your packed items to get past the scales at check-in.
It’s not that these hacks of sneaking more items onto a plane are “bad” (see: the man who stitched his items into his coat), but maybe don’t pretend to be pregnant to avoid a baggage fee. Have you been pregnant? If not, you probably won’t be able to mimic it. It’s not just “having a bump” or “looking heavier.” Every airline has a different policy for pregnant travelers–some require documentation of sorts, depending on how pregnant you are. There’s a hell of a lot more care that goes into flying while pregnant, and chances are that if you’re not actually pregnant, the people around you won’t necessarily be daft enough not to be able to tell. You’re not a badass, you’re just kind of a regular ass.