Tips for carrying more on a plane

Now that American Airlines is opting to charge passengers $15 for the first checked bag, as Grant wrote in his post yesterday, there’s a huge potential of more people taking carry-ons on the plane. Yep, lots of luck finding overhead bin space. I can see a rush to get in line first when a plane is ready for boarding.

Here are some of my ideas for maximizing the carry-on potential if more airlines follow suit and charge for that first bag. I have tried them and they work. I think I was a pack mule in a past life.

1. As, I’ve posted before, this is a good time to pick up a kid if you don’t already have one–get two if you can. I have two for this very reason. Give Mike and Mindy a little backpack for crayons, a coloring book and snacks, and a stuffed animal or a doll to take along if they are so inclined, but remember, if they have a seat that’s been paid for, they get an adult size carry-on. No one said that the passenger has to be able to carry his or her bag onto the plane. Kids’ clothes are small, so that leaves more room for yours. Your child also perfect for carrying that camera bag.

2. Instead of packing that sweater or jacket that you might need when you get to a colder climate, wear it. So what if it’s summer and 98 degrees outside? Don’t let something you can wear take up valuable space.

3. Tie that pair of running shoes onto your carry-on handle. Don’t pack them inside. Just be careful as you’re walking down the airplane’s aisle that they don’t whack people who have already settled into their seats.

4. If you’ve been somewhere and picked up a souvenir item–like an African drum, don’t see it as a carry on. Sure, it’s a carry-on, but it doesn’t really look like one now, does it? I’ve carried an African drum, PLUS a carry on twice. No one said a word each time.

5. For some other packing ideas, check out this photo posted on Flickr by Halley. Particularly, notice the young woman with the pillow in the plaid pillowcase. She’s not getting on a plane, but she has the right idea. Last week someone asked me how to take a pillow along without it taking up space. I suggested this way exactly. I’ve done it and it works.