16 May 2012

Rage Against the Flying Machines

I don't fly much, because I am a simple, driving woman. But when I do, it's most often from Fargo, and most often to Vegas, which means I fly Allegiant Air. They have recently changed their carry-on policy, so that carry-on bags, which used to be free, now cost $24.99 in advance, or $34.99 the day of the flight. This would be fine, of course, if ticket prices dropped accordingly, but they haven't, and so this new policy really gives me pause. More than pause, it pisses me off. So I thought I'd find myself a way around it. From their website, passengers are still allowed one personal item free of charge. And I quote:

Examples of personal items include:

  1. Male or female purse
  2. Briefcase
  3. Laptop computer
  4. Camera case
  5. Portable electronic devices of similar or smaller size to items listed above
  6. The exterior dimensions for a personal item must not exceed 7" H X 15" W X 16" D (this measurement includes wheels, pockets, handles and decorations).
  7. The personal item must be placed under the seat in front of you.
  8. An oversized personal item may be considered a carry-on bag (fees apply).  Please measure your bags carefully.
So...if I were to have a purse or some other bag that measures 7x15x16 or less, including all hardware and handles and stuff, and I could fit all I needed for a trip in there, well, then, I would save myself $25.

I've been to Vegas three times, and each time we flew out on Monday and came home on Friday, so we spent 4 nights away. Now, camping for 4 nights and 5 days, I could wear the same clothes most of the time, and would only need to pack sunscreen, bugspray, and a few sandwiches. (You're not going to invite me to go camping with you, are you?) But in Vegas, I like to dress up a bit, wear a little make-up, maybe some earrings...could I pack for all of that in just a 7x15x16 bag?  I decided to try.
 I should mention that we have no real plans to go to Vegas right now: I'm teaching summer school, and Shaun's still got this new-ish job, and we're not financially in a position to wander off to Vegas willy-nilly. Quite. I'm working on it. Anyway, above, the bag from the side: you can clearly see it is less than 7" here, thanks to my handy Hendrum Grain Elevator yardstick.
 And though this one is harder to see, trust me that this side is only about 14". This bag is, by the way, a prototype, made with my less-favorite fabrics to just try out the idea/refine my pattern. The navy is very strong nylon, double thickness, and the zippers (there are two) are from our local hardware store, at 80cents each. If I make one again, I'm thinking of using a lovely sparkle vinyl, maybe.
 And this side is under 16". And it's packed. With everything I need for 5 days in Vegas. I swear!
The rear-end, measuring in at just over 6". Whee! But wait. Maybe you still don't believe me. 

 Here it is, unzipped for your voyeuristic pleasure.
 My liquids bag, in a front pocket for easy access. I've packed 5 prs of one-a-day contacts, a small tube of sunscreen, toothpaste, lip gloss, mascara, eyeliner, and my 2 inhaler canisters (which are technically considered liquids, apparently). It's all there, baby.
 Let me prove it to you: unpacked, above, are five shirts of varying sleeve lengths (I'll wear a lightweight jacket, because, though it's the middle of the desert, the A/C can be fierce in some casinos). I'd only need four tops, but I'm a sloppy woman, and I like to have options. The patterns on the shirts help to hide the sloppiness, too.
Basic things: my Nintendo DSiXL, which has 100 classic books locked and loaded; my sexy carpal tunnel braces; and my make-up bag, with my remaining make-up, my pills, and my Maalox, which mama needs in Vegas. And my eyelash curler, which is really unnecessary, but again, it's Vegas.
 But wait, there's more! Above: my swimsuit, a black skirt, a white skirt, a gray skirt, a brown pink and cream skirt, and brown pants. I could totally leave out two of those skirts and double up, but if I have the room, why not?
 Then, at the very bottom, my extra shoes (I'll wear the bulkier, less-practical pair on the plane), with my undergarments. That's right. I"m not afraid to post photos of those on the internets. And that is all. See? Everything I need for 5 days in Sin City. Not pictured: a small purse, which will easily fit, as will my camera and charger (I can't take a photo of the camera with which I'm taking a photo). And the cell phone and charger. Ta-da!

I feel vindicated, and if I ever fly to Vegas again, Allegiant Air is simply not getting an extra $24.99 from me.
Now I just have to convince Shaun to come with me. And we'll live happily ever after.

What are your favorite packing tips?


Anonymous said...

I just have to point out that if you wear 4-6 pairs of underpants on the plane, nobody is likely to stop you. I know, because Noah did it. It was A Phase, one which involved a lot of laundry. For that matter, nobody will be likely to stop you if you wear several skirts and an extra t-shirt or two either, though it is hot in Vegas.

Anonymous said...

The last time I flew, which was longggg ago(I love a road trip) the size was correct but the case was so heavy the man who I gave my "old people please help me" look could hardly lift the thing. I have always enjoyed the layered look underwear and all...I didn't know you wore contacts, we need to spend more time together. Gma S

Anonymous said...

Jen...I love your beautiful bags. I would like to order one if you have time to make one. We will talk about fabric, color, payment etc. weekend of cemetary tour my girl. Gma S.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should do crafty weekend in Vegas! Oh, wait, I could never, ever, ever get a weekends' worth of crafty goodness in a tiny little bag. Bummer. - Meagan

Jennifer said...

Meagan: yeah, you'd have to only bring 3 knitting projects instead of 14. And Kathy, ladies with birthdays in August need not pay for such things. What fabrics/colors would you most like?

Anonymous said...

Jennifer...Funky Fabric on that bag order.

Chelsey said...

Luckily we booked our flight before Allegiant made their carry on policy change. Last year I fit absolutely everything in my carry on (which is a lot smaller than it could be) and back pack for 3 days. This year I fit absolutely everything (except shoes and bathroom supplies) in the same carry on and back pack. The three of us split the cost of a checked bag so we didn't have to deal with the liquids issue.

Also - Isn't your inhaler considered prescription medicine? That can be kept separate can't it? I had some face meds that are gels in my carry on, and I just pulled them out when I went through security. Both years it worked just fine.

I think it's ridiculous they're charging for a carry on. They could have made the dimensions of allowed carry ons smaller first.... Anyway, next time I need to pack for a trip I'm calling you!

Kyle said...

I also share your frustration. If you read the fine print on you allegiant airline tickets, it says medical equipment, car seats, and DIAPER BAGS are free of charge and NOT counted as a personal item. So, when I fly with my wife and two kids, each of us have a backpack and a diaper bag stuffed with clothes...in case anyone asks at the airport---no we don't each have four infants in diapers, but the contract didn't say that did it?