Whilst in a very opinionated mood this morning, I happened to come across Christopher Elliot’sarticle (consumer advocate, and definitely one worth following) in The Washington Post regarding luggage etiquette. There are couple of things I do differently, that I don’t see changing anytime soon. Find those things, plus lengthy explanations and mostly-unrelated tangents, below:
I always travel in jeans. I need to have a pair because it can be reused more than once before needing a wash. But, I don’t want to pack it because it takes up too much luggage space and adds weight. Plus, planes are germs and cold. Wearing jeans adds a layer of protection and warmth. And, if my baggage is lost or delayed, I can use the jeans for a few days while I figure out my next steps.
I always pack a pair of underwear and a light shirt in my carry-on. Just in case.
I always purchase travel insurance. I read the plan to make sure that it covers luggage issues.
Even if I decided to ship my luggage to my destination in advance, I still want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that regardless of what happens during the transport process, I can shower and change, and then deal with whatever mess might need to be dealt with when I reach the hotel.
Pack as light as you can and check as much as you can, so that your airport & airplane experiences will be better. But, also, be prepared and flexible.
There’s one other thing that I sometimes do, but wouldn’t advise during the holiday madness (play it by ear):
I store my carry-on in the overhead bin, then retrieve it and place it under the seat in front of me near the end of the flight (before the final seat belt light comes on, there’s usually a warning). This way, deplaning is quicker.
I used to just keep all of my bags under the seat in front of me, as a courtesy to other passengers that could use the overhead space. But, after a particularly long overseas flight, I started doing this instead. When I was much younger, I flew Spirit a lot so I was used to cramped quarters (no shade). When I swore off of Spirit and started flying better, even with my bags under the seat in front of me I felt like I had more room. It wasn’t until I was in a row with an empty middle seat that I moved my bag over and felt the huge difference it made. (I’m 5’10” & from the south so, admittedly, “Awe, bless her heart!” is appropriate here.)
It’s the holidays. It’s crowded. It’s a public space. On airplanes, it’s a tight space as well. We all know this, going in. So, compassion, empathy, patience, planning (give yourself ample time), and a helpful attitude will help shift your personal perspective to one that is less annoyed by people being people.
And, this trip to Cambodia Vipassana Dhura Buddhist Center (Thanks AMAWaterways!) is the kind of experience that makes airport annoyances worth it.