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Philippines, June 16, 2006

Never Check Your Bags

I check only on pain of death

where to today?
Where to today?
too much luggage
My nemisis
I don't know how many miles I've flown, how many flights I've taken, how many times I've been asked, but never, ever, when checking in, do I check my bags.

Why, might you wonder, do I not? First off, you cannot make last minute changes to your trip, grabbing an earlier connection or getting bumped for a free flight coupon. Next, if you flight is late, and you sprint for you next connection, your checked bags will never make it. Late they will be, missing they could be.

Oh and let us not forget the invasion of privacy that the Transportation "Security" Administration perpetrates on your checked luggage at will. With their little notes informing you of their search, they are only one small step above the seedy baggage handlers that take a look, and a few things, in airports worldwide.

Still the supreme reason I never check is because I never need to. Unlike those who lug around coffin-sized bags, I pack light and only take exactly what I need. All my stuff fits into a carry on sized bag, and if it doesn't fit, I don't take it.

Now there is only one tiny issue with this perfect luggage life - my carry on, really a roll on or roll aboard, is just slightly larger than the box the airlines use to check such things. Larger due to my wheels and handle, which a strict and annoying check-in agent might think means it should be checked.

That's why, when faced with the Singapore Airlines check-in desk in Manila where they were checking bags with foolish strictness, I sprang into action. I stored my bags with the swank Pennisula Hotel, Manila airport rest area and checked in without bags.

Yes, that did shock the check-in agent, but what could he do, I didn't present any bags for him to size-check, and once I grabbed my bags from the Hotel and headed through Immigration and Customs, those kids didn't care.

So good try, Singapore Airlines, but you gotta wake up really early to get me to check luggage.

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HA! I too have employed the tactic of hiding carry-ons from the airlines by having someone else hold them. However, during my travels around the world which required formal clothing for 3 weeks of work, I found it impossible to travel that lightly. Not to mention, there wasn't much room if I wanted to bring home a bunch of new things aquired during the trip.

You need to pack better. This trip was also a three week tour for work, and in that little carry on I hid a suit, two different slacks, and three dress shirts along with a pair of running shoes. I wore the nice shoes and a dressy pair of jeans and a fourth dress shirt on the flight.

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