An enterprising Englishman found a unique way to bypass baggage fees on low-cost airlines... by turning a coat into a carry on 'suitcase'!
In an effort to cut costs for passengers, airlines are increasingly turning to extra fees for just about everything. Slowly but surely, more and more previously complimentary services are becoming pay-only, including meals, drinks, checked bags, seat selection, and more.
For some, this is a great way to get a no-frills flight at rock bottom prices, but for others, the constant charges just make flying complicated... and expensive. Constantly changing policies means that passengers are often hit with surprise fees at the airport, especially when it comes to baggage.
At this point, it's the norm for an airline to charge for checked baggage, but most still allow passengers to take two carry-on bags on board for free (usually one purse/laptop bag and a small suitcase, although this varies from carrier to carrier). However, when Ryanair started charging even for carry-ons, one passenger decided to find a loophole in the rules and save his money.
Lee Cimino, 30, describes himself as a 'big fan' of Ryanair and uses it to travel on a regular basis. However, when the airline recently added a baggage fee of $10.90 to $14.50 for a second piece of hand luggage (and the free piece has to be 35cm x 20cm x 20cm or smaller), Cimino figured out a way to turn a coat into a 'suitcase' in order to bypass the fees.
In a video, he shows himself taking an old overcoat to a tailor, getting pockets added to the inside so that he could fit his basics for a weekend away (toiletries and a change of clothes). He then wears the coat on the plane for a trip away to Belfast, and successfully avoids those pesky baggage fees.
Coats (and anything you wear) are generally not considered when it comes to carry-on restrictions, and it's common for travelers to use this to try and get a little extra bang for their carry-on buck. Wearing extra layers and the largest/heaviest clothes you intend to bring on vacation are common, as is wearing a travel pillow rather than trying to squeeze it into a bag. However, Cimino takes this to the next level with his coat-case, which is certainly smart - and as he points out, doesn't contravene the spirit of the carry-on rules: "Ryanair said that the point of charging is to speed up boarding, well obviously I was hot-footed this time."
Of course, if everyone were to start wearing coat-cases, it may lead to some new carry on regulations - and no one wants to get to a point where passengers are charged for the clothing on their backs! However, as that may be a little difficult to enforce, this seems like a bright idea for anyone with a big coat, a small amount of luggage, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to dodge those fees!