By Jeremy Miville
Airlines have changed since their inception; I mean, everything evolves. But the industry has gone from being this luxurious mode of transportation to flying Greyhound buses filled with sweatpants and headphones. I’m glad smoking was banned, but the ham sandwich dinner option is far from the prime rib dinners of the late 60’s. Sure, some airlines offer lavish quarters with lay-down seating, televisions and showers. Yet here I am, spending most of my airtime in the middle seat watching a B movie through spotty Wi-Fi as the guy in the window seat asks to exit for the bathroom for the third time in 45 minutes.
But the flight only cost me $212.00.
Because the cost is so low, I suck it up. That’s the way I’ve convinced myself to be OK with minimal leg room and peanuts alongside 4 hours of confinement. But the minute you start dipping into my wallet, I become resentful. You better not charge me for that spotty Wi-Fi and my bags better fly free.
How can you charge a person for flying with stuff? Who could head across the country for two weeks, but not bring stuff?
Kayak has a great page that looks at what airlines charge for flying your stuff. A page of bag-fees, displayed by airline. It could arguably be the most depressing page on the internet.
So how can we win? How can we give a big “not my bag” gesture to the airlines? Pack smart and pack light. I’m on team carry-on. If you think I get heated over fees and Wi-Fi, you should see what happens when my luggage is lost. Regardless, once I’ve already bought my ticket, and I have no intentions of handing over more money to the airline.
Here’s how I do it.
Buy a small carry-on bag.
Treat yourself. Get a fun color, something you’ll love, because THIS IS YOUR ONLY BAG. Now you’re dedicated. You can’t turn back.
Don’t pack extras.
You don’t need that extra jacket; you have a jacket on. Yes, it will be warm enough. You still don’t think so? THEN WEAR THE OTHER JACKET and leave the light weight one at home. No, I’m sorry ,but you can’t bring both.
Pack for half your trip.
If you’re going for 7 days, pack for 4. Laundry service is still cheaper than giving more money to the airlines.
If you’re a clothes roller, you better be good with a hotel iron too. But you can roll clothes even tighter when you secure them in rubber bands.
Skip the toiletries.
If you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t offer you shampoo, conditioner, soap and face wash, you may need to step up your travel game. Leave that room in the bag for something else.
Seriously, take a nap or watch a show on the spotty Wi-Fi. You could always download a book to the iPad.
One Pair of shoes.
You’ll already be wearing one pair at boarding. How many feet do you have?
I know, it seems like a challenge. It’s up to you. For me, it’s not the $35 fee I’m looking to avoid but the principle of being presented low-fares and then hit with nonessential add ons.
See you in the air! I’ll be the guy in the middle seat enjoying the free pretzel sticks, until they take those away too.