Airplane tetris

The days leading up to my recent trip to Dallas were busy for me at home, but my excitement was building.  The frequency of emails between my girlfriends kept increasing, which contributed greatly to my anticipation. We must have exchanged about sixty-five emails the day before we left, covering a multitude of topics including; logistics, our fabulous plans, what we were bringing, and packing.

Packing was a big topic, but it wasn’t what to pack, it was how to pack.  Airlines have become more stringent in the last little while, so checking even one bag now costs real money and there are pretty clear regulations about what you are allowed to carry on a plane.  I know this, because it is printed on the documents that were emailed to me when I booked my ticket, it was on the email that was sent to me when I checked in online, and it is easily available on the airline’s website. Given that we are all rule followers, we knew that we would each need to check a bag. We were all carrying our cameras and associated gear, laptops, and tablets, which left little room for the clothes that we would need for a week away. These valuables are all items items that we would never dream of checking, but that the airlines also specifically tell you not to check, so we ensured that our carry-ons followed the rules in terms of size and number.

When we arrived at our gate on tuesday, we were surprised to see the number of travellers whose carry-on baggage clearly exceeded the allowances for both size and number.  The three of us talked about how it was unfair to those of us who followed the rules, and how we not-so-secretly hoped that they would be asked to jam their bag into the contraption that ensures they are regulation, and that offenders would be forced to check their bags.  To our amazement, a number were asked, and some of the large bags, after their owners tried to twist and turn them to make them fit, were removed and stowed with the checked baggage.

Still, each time a flight was called, people started jockeying for position, trying to inch themselves and their bags into the closest available space that would get them on to the plane sooner. They shuffled together and moved in rows as they were called to board. Space on planes is limited and the airlines are trying their best to add more seats without changing the physical size, meaning the we all have less place to stow our bags. I think that the new fees are forcing people to try and carry more and more onto planes.  I had to fight for space in the overhead bins on all four of my flights, despite the fact that I was only trying to stow a small camera bag. People struggled to jam their just small enough bags into the overhead, twisting and turning them like puzzle pieces, some fitting, some being removed and “checked” for the traveller.

While I first secretly cheered as bags were removed, a comment made by one of my girlfriends as we were boarding our last flight made me stop. I think that these are the actual winners in this game. They are momentarily inconvenienced, but none seemed to fight the decree that their bag was too large. It was still travelling with them, and they had now saved themselves the fee, for one flight at least.

Category: life | 2 comments

  • Jana says:

    It drives me batty when people don’t follow the rules. Bags too big, more bags than allowed. It boggles my mind how so many of them get through security and on to the plane with such blatant violations!

  • Krista says:

    I’m totally convinced that these people do not pay a cent when their bag gets checked from the aircraft. I want to find out.


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