Lugging Luggage

Business or pleasure? Avoid the hassle of airline luggage rules and make your trip easier.

These aren't the best of times for airline passengers totinga lot of luggage. The Association of Flight Attendants is askingthe Federal Aviation Administration to limit carry-ons to 13 poundsand no more than 45 inches of height, width and depth.Congressional hearings are taking place on the matter, and carriersare quietly cracking down on travelers who board a flight with morethan two items. So you need to devise a smart luggage strategy. Buthow?

Pack light. With more people flying than ever-the AirTransport Association counted a record 614 mil-lion passengers lastyear on U.S.-scheduled flights-the luggage bins tend to be stuffedto the hilt.

Plan for the worst. Carry-ons may be limited to tworegulation-sized bags in the United States, but that's noguarantee that both items will fit into the overhead compartment.Irate passengers have gotten kicked off planes for refusing tocheck their luggage when space is tight.

Watch for the templates. At many airports, a template atthe security checkpoint determines whether you can carry yourluggage on the plane. If it doesn't fit, you'll have tocheck it.

Consider using an overnight service. Many businesstravelers have begun using overnight delivery services as analternative to carrying everything with them. The services areoften more reliable and sometimes faster than an airline'sluggage-handling.

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