The first time I flew overseas, the lady at the counter weighed my carry-on. When she saw that it was a pound or two overweight, she was quick to come up with a solution. Did I have any books or a jacket inside? I could take them out, and she’d re-weigh my bag. I did, and she did, and then I was free to carry them onto the plane separately, or put them right back in the carry-on. Either way, my overall weight was the same—so I can’t vouch for the logic of the change—but I was glad for a workable solution.
But what happens if you’re a lot overweight on your baggage? What if your carry-on looks like a balloon and won’t begin to fit into that metal cage/scales combination next to the check-in line? (You know the thing I’m talking about, the one that’s there just to weed out first-time flyers who might want to turn themselves in.) Or what if you need to leave a whole bag behind? (As in, I’m not going to pay that fee!)
Well that calls for more drastic measures than just carrying a book. It can be done. It’s just that you might need to check your self-esteem at the gate.
Do It Yourself
First, I give you the example of an “unidentified passenger” at China’s Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The man, from Kenya, didn’t want to pay for his excess baggage, so he decided to wear it. According to Want China Times, he donned 61 items of clothing, among them 9 pairs of jeans. (Other news outlets report that he was wearing more than 60 shirts with his 9 pairs of pants. We may never know the exact count. In intense stories like this, accuracy is often the first thing sacrificed.)
The obese-looking man’s scheme was uncovered, layer by layer, when he set off the metal detector, prompting a full-body search. Apparently, (and this is where you can learn a valuable lesson) the batteries, USB sticks, and toys he was carrying weren’t in the pockets of his outermost garment.
(“Layer Hater: Guangzhou Airport Blocks Man Wearing 60 Items of Clothing,” Want China Times, December 16, 2012)
If you admire this gentleman’s thinking—but the sumo-wrestler look isn’t quite your thing—maybe you’re part of Jaktogo‘s demographic. The Jaktogo, along with its cousins, the Dresstogo and Ponchotogo, is a jacket that holds a myriad of items in its 14 pockets. It folds into a bag, complete with carrying straps, so you can wear your “coat” through the gate and, once on board the flight, place your “bag” in the overhead bin. Or you can follow the lead of Irish engineer John Power, the Jaktogo’s inventor, and carry your fully-loaded coat by its straps through the gate and spar with the attendant over definitions. That’s not my idea of fun, but then again, I do have to remember, “Only fools pay for extra luggage, clever people have a Jaktogo!!”
Looking for something a little cheaper? You might want to try the Rufus Roo Big Pocket Travel Jacket. The Rufus Roo has only six pockets and doesn’t convert into a piece of luggage, but it’s designed by Rebecca Morter of the London College of Fashion, and some would say it’s more stylish.
Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to style, you are still wearing your luggage.
[photo: “Heavy Luggage,” by David Bakker, used under a Creative Commons license]