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What would you do?

I came across a situation when planning my current trip. I was able to decide quickly what to do that is right for me but I'd like to see what others are thinking. This is not a request for advice I'm just curious to see how the mindset on some work.

You are taking an extended, weeks long trip around Europe. You have one flight where your carry on bag is too big for the airline's carry on rules.

There is only one nonstop flight between point A and point B. It's over water. It's two hours long.

Do you:

A) Take it and just check your bag for this flight.

B) Look for alternative flights with connections on an airline that will allow you to carry on.

C) Take the train even though that will take over 24 hours.

D) Buy a smaller bag and leave some things out that you want for your trip but can't stomach the idea of checking a bag.

E) Change the trip so you don't have to fly that route.

Posted by
276 posts

I'd take the non stop flight and check my bag. I'm still traveling light with a carry on just not carry on a size by that airline. Any non stop flight to my destination wins.

Posted by
533 posts

I'd opt for (E), but I always plan itineraries that can be done without any mid-trip flying in the first place.

Posted by
2116 posts

Frank we experienced exactly that same situation on two different trips. I packed my normal carry-on rollaboard, but for the flights that would not allow that bag as a carry on, I had a very, very light-weight bag inside my suitcase, and I put the minimal amount with which we could live in that bag, which was then used as a carry-on (just in case we never saw our rollaboard again or if it was delayed by a few days).

What's so funny is that both times people boarding the flights had bags as big as my rollaboard, and there would have been no reason for the separate smaller bag..............but one never knows, the gate agents had every right to deny those larger carry-ons under their rules. If flying on those two separate airlines today (Vueling and Air Moroc), I would take the same precautions again.

Checked luggage arrived without problem.

So, Frank, inquiring minds want to know. Did you do A, B, C, D, or E yourself?

Posted by
276 posts

Well now I read it again and I'm confused. Are there two flights? If the price was good and the connection enough time I'd just check my bag. I'm already traveling light just not by that airlines standards and why leave something home you really want. With only a little over a week I don't want to go shopping to replace those items.

Posted by
55 posts

Generally speaking, I am a never-checker. However...

My choice would be A, and my choice actually was A in a similar situation on my last trip to Europe. On a non-stop, intra-Europe flight, I didn't think there was much to worry about. In fact, the bags for my flight were delayed making it to baggage claim because of a mix-up with the handlers--budget carrier using a 3rd party baggage handling service. :( I probably lost 30 minutes max that way, but compared to a train or main-line carrier flight it was cheaper and faster, and in retrospect still worth it.

Posted by
2768 posts

A. It’s a non stop flight, less chance for my bag to be lost. A connection throws in plenty of risk of delays/mussed flights that would mess up my trip. 24 hours in a train is a non-starter, it’s a waste of time and uncomfortable to me. I’d consider D, but it depends how small the limit is. I take a DSLR camera and if it’s 1 bag only (not personal item + small bag) I can’t do it. I would not change my trip, unless there was an equally interesting option. If these 2 cities were my top priorities, then checking a bag is a small price to pay

What I would do is see if there is a nearby airport with a direct flight with a bigger carry on limit. So if I were in Venice and it didn’t have a good option, I’d see if Milan did, at a time I could get there the same day.

Posted by
4574 posts

I don't travel assuming that luggage will be lost. I choose A for convenience and accepting that the small checked baggage cost is made up for by 20+ extra hours in my location of interest. My time is more important. I'll just save the money elsewhere.

Posted by
11294 posts

A.

I understand the preference for not checking a bag, even a strong preference. I don't understand the phobia about not checking a bag, that some seem to have - particularly on a short one-leg flight, where the likelihood of a lost bag is very low. Just remove anything from the checked bag you can't stand to lose, make sure you've got two changes of clothes in your carry on, and that's it.

Posted by
444 posts

A) Take it and just check your bag for this flight.

It's a direct flight...I don't really see a downside. All other options seem like a pain.

Posted by
14580 posts

Given this multiple choice list, as is, I choose "A" If "C" were to take the ferry on a 24 hr ride, I would vote for "C"

Posted by
7051 posts

I would check the dang bag and do as the other posted noted - make sure I had everything critical in a smaller personal bag in case the bag was misdirected.

Posted by
3918 posts

Yes, I agree with Chani, Harold is the voice of reason. Check your bag.

Posted by
19119 posts

Absoultely not A. The only time I almost lost my luggage (and I mean really lost, like forever, not just delayed) was on a "short one-leg flight" inside Europe.

And, my decision not to check a bag is not a phobia, it's just good sense based on past experience. You can't have a checked bag lost unless you check it.

My answer would almost be E, but I would never willingly create an itinerary that included a flight within Europe in the first place. The only times I have flown intra-Europe were on business trips, when the company set the itinerary (and it was one of those when I nearly lost my luggage).

So, probably D, but I already own that bag, a Travelwell bag by Goodhope (23 L, 1400 ci). And I wouldn't have to leave anything out because everything I take to Europe for three weeks fits inside. But there is no extra room so I leave it home and take a bigger bag (currently a 38 L eTech 2.0 Convertible Jr.), which has cinch straps to tighten the load. BTW, none of the above bags are currently available.

You have one flight where your carry on bag is too big for the airline's carry on rules.

But Frank, what are the airlines carryon rules that you exceed?

Posted by
11297 posts

I am a bit perplexed by this choice

C) Take the train even though that will take over 24 hours.

yet the premise is

It's over water. It's two hours long.

Posted by
1194 posts

I choose option F.

F) Do more research because there isn’t nearly enough information to answer your question.

  • What type of airports
  • What type of baggage facilities
  • Probability of theft at baggage facilities
  • Airlines reputation for lost bags
  • Airlines reputation for problem solving
  • Are there other airports nearby that will take carry on bags
  • Big aircraft or little aircraft
  • Cost of alternative flights
  • Time delays of alternatives

I agree with Fred on the Ferry idea. That is never wasted time, even if it takes longer.

Posted by
1473 posts

A - no question! checking it for one short flight is not a big deal - UNLESS the airline is charging exorbitant fees to do so. If that were the case I would probably choose D or E.

Posted by
19119 posts

Joe, I can see where that situation could arise, if the flight was from Italy to southern Greece it could be fairly short over water, but a long, roundabout way by train through Slovenia and the Balkan peninsula. So delete Athens, or, as someone suggested, take a ferry.

Posted by
55 posts

Harold, I must just be cursed, then. The number of problem checked bag experiences I have had greatly exceeds the number of problem free ones.

Posted by
1194 posts

@Jean

That’s a full sized bag?

It wouldn’t work for many airlines.

Posted by
619 posts

We always check bags and have never had one go missing.

Posted by
14580 posts

In 1971 I took a short plane hop, ie the second leg of a flight within Europe. I had to check in the luggage, or rather it was checked through from its original departure point. The short hop was indeed short...10 mins or just a bit over . After arriving I stayed one night at small hotel near the train station, then took the 24 hr train ride to get to the town.

I would either A or D.
If I chose D, I may take the items left out of larger bag and divide between smaller bag and an underseat packing cube or tote.
If I can travel with less - I would travel with less.
If I really needed the larger bag - I would just "eat" the checked bag fee.

Posted by
15381 posts

This was interesting.

I chose "A" While I prefer to carry on I won't have a temper tantrum if I can't.

The flight is from Bergen to London. My bag is too thick by 3 cm. I will try to carry on but if they insist on checking no problem. It's on Norwegian so I may have weight limit issues since they weigh a combination of carry on and personal item.

I am connecting to another flight but I have a seven hour layover and I go through immigration. And the second flight is on a different airline.

I also have a flight on a Flybe ATR42 a few days later and my bag will have to be checked as well.

Posted by
1229 posts

"Too thick" suggests a soft sided bag. How about some straps that you can cinch, and really tighten those buggers down externally. When not used for the bag you could use it as a belt, or a leash ;p (aren't you traveling with your dog, or am I getting you confused)

Posted by
15381 posts

The bag is softsided but has a solid frame. Strap won't work.

I've paid for checking luggage on the flights that are questionable. I'm hoping, since I have paid and the airline will make money, that they might let me take it on board anyway.

On va voir.

Posted by
4574 posts

Jean's pack reference is a thin nylon pack that weighs little and is quite malleable. Straps can reduce it to the size required. Or pack it with some wiggle room to fit the measuring box. It used to be Sarah Murdoch's bag of choice for uber light travel. What she used it for her 10 pound Vietnam trip. https://adventureswithsarah.net/ultralight-packing/
I returned mine as design didn't quite suit my security criteria, but it was well made and could be adapted to fit.
Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.....

Posted by
7365 posts

You’re correct, Maria. The bag I mentioned is only as large as the items placed inside it. I’ve been able to place it into some tiny spots in a car trunk when traveling with friends on a weekend.

Posted by
1194 posts

@Jean @Maria
This makes no sense. Yes, a soft bag gets smaller if you put less in it. But that doesn’t solve the problem

The problem is that Frank II is bringing a normal size carry on worth of stuff. That means it will fill the bag to normal levels and exceed the hand luggage size allowance for that particular airline.

This solution only works if you were allowed a personal item in addition to the regular carry on. Then you could split then load into two bags. Except that Franks regular bag has one stiff side so it still exceeds the requirements. Then the only solution would be for Frank to abandon his regular carry on.

Posted by
24 posts

I would choose Take it and just check your bag for this flight. This would be less hassle and could save some time.

Posted by
7365 posts

Choice “D” was to buy a smaller bag and leave some items out of his packing. This one can be small, and it’s inexpensive - the reason I mentioned it.

Frank, hope you have a great trip and no hassles with your suitcase!

Posted by
9733 posts

Glad you decided for A. Will be curious to see if you ARE able to carry it on anyway in the end!

Posted by
122 posts

I will never get why it's life or death for people to have to actually pay to check in luggage. I've heard the "Airlines lose luggage all the time" thing which isn't true. I wouldn't change your way of travel just because you have to pay extra to check in a bag. It seems rather penny wise, pound foolish.

Posted by
5609 posts

I would choose (A).
I would not even consider B, C, or E
D is a possibility.

I always check my bag when I fly to Europe. I pack a change of clothes, a couple extra pairs of socks and underwear, a 3-1-1 bag, meds, and my electronics in a daypack and I carry the daypack on. The rest of my stuff goes in a 22” rollaboard which gets checked. I just feel so much more relaxed when I don’t have to cart my bag through the airport or deal with the overhead bin. With my daypack, I have enough to get me through about 3 days of travel should my suitcase go missing.

In 30 years of travel, my bag has been “lost” 4 or 5 times. The bag was found and delivered to me the next day in every case but one. One time, it took 5 days for the airline to find the bag and deliver to me. What I learned from this is that if you have the essentials with you, you are good to go. The risk of having a bag mishandled is low; this article indicates 6 per 1000 passengers.

http://www.travelandleisure.com/style/travel-bags/airlines-lost-baggage-2016

Everything in my checked bag is replaceable. It is just clothes and travel stuff.

Posted by
4393 posts

D, but I already own such a bag.
A only if its my final destination and I'm going to be there several days so they can bring my bag to me if they didn't put it on my flight.

Posted by
1328 posts

I'd check it and not think twice about it. The religious fervor with not checking a bag is bizarre.

Posted by
15381 posts

I thought I'd share with you a little information on how non-RS people travel.

I'm on a tour right now. It's not a Rick Steves tour. The tour provides bellman service at all hotels and if you book your flights with them, as most do, they provide transportation between airport and hotels. (Not public, either private van or as with Venice a private boat.)

Everyone, except me, has a full size suitcase. (Almost all spinners).I am the only one who has carry on size only. In fact, some have a full size suitcase AND a rolling carry on. That's a full 22" rolling carry on. They all wonder how I can travel for so long with so little. And with the amount of shopping being done, I think many will have to buy another bag.

At our hotels, the bags are brought up usually within 30 minutes and when we leave our bags have to be outside our room one hour before departure. It's a small group tour--only 24 people--so bags are delivered fairly quickly.

I, however, have decided to handle my own bag which means it goes to the room with me and I take it down to the bus when it is time for departure. No problems.

I want to guess that some of you want to tell these people they are travelling wrong. But are they? Wrong according to whom?

Posted by
713 posts

I want to guess that some of you want to tell these people they are
travelling wrong. But are they? Wrong according to whom?

That last question is the key, IMO. If one has to use a CPAP machine, or has limited stamina for walking and standing, or has some medical/physical condition requiring the use of special equipment, medications, braces, etc. - then the travel style of "grab one bag, preferably one without wheels, and travel carry-on" isn't feasible or even possible.

I think it's wonderful if one is blessed with good health and stamina, and has been a good steward of those gifts by taking care of one's health, and can thus make the most of travel by "going light" and exploring to the max every day.

Is someone who checks a big bag and has a carryon roller somehow less worthy than a fellow traveler who nonchalantly slips their gear for a whole trip into a backpack?

Not for me to say. For all I know there's a CPAP machine and a back brace in that checked bag, and my fellow traveler may be fighting a chronically painful condition every day, that would have me curled in a fetal ball in my bedroom instead of striking out to travel the world.

Posted by
14580 posts

If there is one hotel where I have seen tour groups come by and stay, it the hotel I stay at in Vienna. True, two American groups I have seen,.. lots of luggage, far too much for my way of traveling. Other nationalities do likewise, ie a ton of luggage. I've seen that with Asians, East Europeans, (there was a women's group from Slovenia). They come by on a tour bus, and all the luggage is deposited in the hotel lobby as they are settling in, getting organised, etc.

One thing for sure they could not travel on a train with so much luggage and heavy luggage at that.

Posted by
451 posts

A. Would be my choice. This does bring up an interesting point.

"I want to guess that some of you want to tell these people they are travelling wrong. But are they? Wrong according to whom?"

I don't look down on them. I am in the RS One Bag Clan. Perhaps they look down on us. Perhaps, I am not sure it is wrong as much as it is different. I have a friend who travels first class all the way. She does not touch her luggage until it is in her room. To me she, misses the adventure part of the journey, which are some of the best stories. She hears them and is glad it is not her. To her, I am missing on the luxury part of travel. If we were all the same, it would be boring.

Posted by
14580 posts

This info goes back a few decades. In the past my choice was always "A."

Whenever I flew within Europe from 1971 to 1989, ie, from Hannover-Langenhagen to (West )Berlin, the first and only time was Templehof, then it was Tegel from 1973 to 1989 (the last time in August prior to the fall of the Wall), I always checked in my 2 pieces of luggage and waited at the other end to pick it up at baggage claim.

Never even thought of using the smaller piece as a carry-on. Both pieces checked in, both picked up.