Air travel can be tedious, but having the right carry-on luggage can make the journey smoother. Of course, the opposite is true as well. Packing the wrong things in an awkward bag can make things interesting and not in a good way. Consider this woman’s story.
In April 2021, a chase ensued in the Orlando Airport between a woman on a motorized carry-on bag—one that works like a rectangular scooter complete with telescoping handlebars—and a policeman on a bicycle, as reported by News 6 Orlando. The woman had consumed a few too many drinks while waiting for a delayed flight. When it was time to board, the gate agent observed that the passenger was too intoxicated to fly safely. The airline employee asked her to return home. She gave him the finger, refused to leave the airport, and escaped a police escort, riding away on her suitcase. The chase lasted several minutes.
Pick The Right Luggage
The previously mentioned airport rebel was the owner of a Modobag, for example. This innovative bag weighs 20 lbs, conforms with the size limits for carry-on luggage for most airlines, and doubles as a sort of scooter that can reach speeds of eight miles per hour. That means travelers don’t have to walk long distances between one gate and another. Unfortunately, the price tag of more than $1000 makes this luggage prohibitive and it's probably not practical in many situations.
Travelers need to consider which type of carry-on luggage works best for them—there’s no one-size-fits-all. Some people like shoulder bags. Others prefer totes, backpacks, or rolling suitcases. It's subjective.
As a general rule, the best carry-on bag is one that feels comfortable to carry and has space for the items passengers need to bring with them. Less is more—lighter bags with fewer things will make every step of the journey easier. Think about getting in and out of bathroom stalls and putting bags in overhead bins. Smaller, lighter luggage is also simpler to keep close and safe, and less likely to attract thieves.
Know And Follow The Rules
It’s easy to feel empathy for the wayward traveler who ended up in police custody. She was probably just frustrated by delays and, earlier, she may have had a rough day. It’s a shame that this traveler ended up making a tough situation much worse, though. When the police officer finally cornered her, he asked her to leave the airport, but she refused. Then she spat on him and when arrested, destroyed the back seat of his cruiser. She would have been better off complying, but she certainly isn’t alone in her disregard for airport regulations.
According to Reuters, in 2021, the TSA stopped a record number of people who had packed handguns in their carry-ons, some of them loaded. Airport security is pretty routine for most fliers—take off shoes and belts, put the computer in a tray on its own, and, oh yeah, no weapons in hand baggage. How often do agents confiscate seemingly harmless nail clippers and bottles of shampoo? Why would anyone pack a gun? The TSA suspects that most people who put firearms in their carry-ons do it without thinking.
When TSA agents do find a handgun or other prohibited objects in carry-ons, it can cause huge delays and hefty fines for the traveler. For example, security guards may have to call up local law enforcement to confiscate the weapon. Then, the TSA conducts a thorough and costly investigation into the incident and the intentions of the gun owner at his or her own expense. That’s a good reason to think carefully about what goes into hand baggage and leave guns at home or in checked baggage. People can always contact their air carrier if they are unsure if a certain item is allowed or not.
Passengers should also make sure that their carry-on complies with weight and size limits to avoid paying expensive baggage fees.
So, What Should You Put In Your Carry-on?
Hand luggage can be a life-saver. Travel plans may go awry, and people have to depend on just a few items that fit this small bag, for example, if there are long delays or checked luggage gets lost. Here are some essentials to consider putting in a carry-on:
- Money and credit cards — this will solve almost any travel issues like transportation, accommodation, and finding something to eat
- Necessary documents — ID, flight information, hotel reservation, and address
- Change of clothes — just in case something goes wrong with the checked bag
- Toiletries — make sure these adhere to security regulations!!!
- An empty water bottle — people can fill these at water fountains in the airport
- Small, non-messy snacks — for example, a couple of granola bars
- A pen — for people headed to another country, this will come in hand for filling out paperwork at the immigration counter
- Cell phone and charger — if plans change, travelers can contact friends and family
The woman who caused so much trouble in Orlando with her unusual carry-on is still awaiting sentencing. She will likely have to pay for the damage she caused to the police officer's vehicle and complete community service, but she could also have to serve some time in jail, depending on the outcome of her trial. Either way, she probably won't be flying again soon so she won't be needing to pack her carry-on luggage.