These aren't the best of times for airline passengers toting a lot of luggage. The Association of Flight Attendants is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to limit carry-ons to 13 pounds and no more than 45 inches of height, width and depth. Congressional hearings are taking place on the matter, and carriers are quietly cracking down on travelers who board a flight with more than two items.
Devise a smart luggage strategy. But how?
- Pack light. With more people flying than ever--the Air Transport Association counted a record 614 mil-lion passengers last year on U.S.-scheduled flights, com-pared to 599 mil- lion in 1997-- the luggage bins tend to be stuffed to the hilt.
- Plan for the worst. Carry-ons may be limited to two regulation-sized bags in the United States, but that's no guarantee that both items will fit into the overhead compartment. Irate passengers have gotten kicked off planes for refusing to check their luggage when space is tight.
- Watch for the templates. At many airports, a template at the security checkpoint determines whether you can carry your luggage on the plane. If it doesn't fit, you'll have to check it.
- Consider using an overnight service. Many business travelers have begun using overnight delivery services as an alternative to carrying everything with them. The services are often more reliable and sometimes faster than an airline's luggage-handling.
Christopher Elliot is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland. Contact him at www.elliot.org.
Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.