Most annoying airline passengers Are Once Again Rear Seat Kickers Posted by Chris Tyler | Nov 11, 2015 | US | 4 | Share this:TweetShare on TumblrEmail Related Share: Rate:
West Australians used to clap and sometimes even cheer when international flights landed in Perth, I never asked them why but I don’t think it had anything to do with the skill of the pilot. Just as the applause was dying down a bloke would storm down the passageway spraying insecticide all over us. It doesn’t happen these days (the cheering or the spraying) as Sandgropers are a bit less parochial due to increased overseas travel..
Most annoying airline passengers are those adults who have no compassion for a helpless baby who doesn’t understand why his or her eases hurt for a few minutes at takeoff. I’m not talking about adults who refuse to try and comfort their kids–and I guess they really are the absolute worst, the trolls–but being mean-spirited towards a helpless baby whose parents are trying to soothe the little mite? That’s just venal.
I have to fly long-haul frequently, at least 10 hours, and I will never understand this fascination people have in drenching themselves in strong perfume or after-shave. At least on the ground I can walk-away, but stuck withing 6″ of one of these people renders me completely overcome with breathlessness and weeping eyes, and I have to spend the whole flight with a wet-wipe up my nose and a scarf in front of my face as an inefficient make-do filter. I am not unreasonable, a little amount of smell from a deodorant is fine, but why all the gallons of pungent (generally over-priced) perfume I will never understand.
Carryon luggage on most American fltgihs (and also on my Asian fltgihs) is 45 as the sum of the three linear dimensions of the bag (LxWxH). Most airlines also have a crate or other size-tester situated both at the ticket counter and the boarding gate but I have never, ever seen one used or been asked to use one but they won’t take a typical 22 wheelie, with the wheels and hand strap on the top, most are just too long.The problem I run into on my Asia fltgihs is the 15.5 or so pound limit for carryon luggage. With most lightweight wheelies running an average of 7-8 pounds empty, that doesn’t leave much room for actual contents. The lightest wheelie I found is the 5.5 pound LLBean Medium Adventure Rolling Duffle. (It came in under its listed weight according to my scale.) Usually the counter agent will cut you some slack if you are a pound or two over but they often re-weigh them at the gate, so be careful of filling up water bottles, or sneaking stuff back in post-ticket counter.I try to use a bag small and comfortable enough to carry on my lap, or at my feet, as my personal item.I think the best rule of thumb for a personal item is: will it fit under the seat in front of me? Most of my airlines have moved away from specifying weight or linear dimensions, using vague terms like woman’s purse, briefcase, small pack to describe the personal item. Based on some of my experiences at the ticket counter, some airlines are really starting to crack down on personal items, as they seem to be growing to the size of what we used to consider actual carryon luggage. Bulky day packs are a particularly sore point for some of the ticket counter agents I have encountered. I have even had my personal item weighed, but this is rare. I think the best argument we can make back since in some cases the counter agents aren’t even following their airlines published rules is that I will only be putting one item overhead, the other item is for my seat. That seems to mollify them the most.The largest personal item I have gotten away with is the RedOxx Kat Pack, the smallest I have used is the Gator. The Patagonia MiniMass in its new edition is about 150 c.i. larger than the Gator, but still looks inoffensive.I think the best advice I would give anyone in this horribly murky area is as follows:1. Make sure your luggage and personal item look different in size it’s actually ok for the luggage to look bigger than it really needs to be, if that makes your personal item look smaller. If they are both roughly the same size, the ticket counter agent is likely to weigh both, and may try to treat them both as luggage, especially if they have a 15.5 pound limit and both bags are pushing that (due to heavy computer in your personal item, for example). Leave the personal item on your luggage cart, it will look smaller there, and only bring forward your carryon luggage for weighing, unless asked.2. Luggage can be up to 45 linear inches total (length plus width plus height) but keep an eye on the length, don’t exceed 22 . Watch the weight, and certainly don’t go over 17 pounds for the average friendly airline with a weight limit, or stick to the weight limit for the unfriendly ones.3. Soft-sided luggage (Rick Steves Back Door Convertible Back Pack or any of the higher end comparables from RedOxx, Tom Bihn, or luggage companies) will save a couple of pounds, if you can deal with the weight on your shoulder or back. Stowing the backpack straps for the ticket counter makes the bag look smaller. Stowing any accessory shoulder strap into your personal item instead of into your luggage transfers a little weight.4. Empty any water bottles before the ticket counter, not before security. Saves weight. A disposable (but reusable) plastic bottle is lighter than an aluminum or steel bottle.5. If you can stow your personal item into your carryon luggage and still make weight and size it is more convenient transiting the ticket counter and security and even boarding. I call my personal item a seat side pull-out bag in that scenario. But I can’t generally make weight, so I keep my bags separate. That means I have to wrangle up to 3 bags on arrival (and 3 bags to the departure airport) checked, carryon, personal item. If I check a large enough, but underfilled, bag, I can generally stow my carryon luggage in my checked luggage which helps if I am taking a subway or train at my destination.6. My seat-side bag my personal item goes to the bathroom with me on the flight, for security, and is looped cross-body, on my lap, under my blanket, while sleeping on the flight. Through TSA security I use plastic zip ties to secure all contents; you can also use twist ties, which don’t require snipping off (with nail clippers) if you just want to slow down, and not completely stymie, TSA and fellow-passenger pilferers. In the overhead bin I either used zipties or at a minimum position my overhead bag with zippers towards the bulkhead to discourage pilferers.