Saturday, September 17, 2011 a luggage problem.

This scene from Joe vs. The Volcano captures the dilemma all frequent travelers face: Getting your stuff from Point A to Point B.  As the luggage salesman says, "Out there, it's just you and your luggage."  Overnight trips aren't a problem...throw a shirt, underwear, and socks in the Adventure Bag and I'm good to go.  Two to three day trips are equally trouble-free...extra clothes in a small, carry-on bag and the Adventure Bag with its usual collection of gear suffices nicely.

Now, when I say small, carry-on bag, I really mean a small bag that I physically pick up and carry on the airplane...and "small" means it takes up about a quarter of an overhead bin.  This, I recognize, is in marked contrast to the three other major classes of "carry-on" luggage: backpacks, shopping bags, and wheelie bags.  I accept day packs as perfectly legitimate carry-on luggage and have, on occasion, resorted to using one.  However, to men who travel wearing a suit and a back pack: "Buy yourself some 'big boy' luggage and grow up."  Also note that I specify "day pack" here.  See that overhead bin, Sparky?  Only a third of it is yours.  The rest belongs to your two seat mates.  They may choose to use it or not.  That is their prerogative as a fellow passenger.  Don't presume to make the decision for them by being a selfish asshole and throwing your big-ass piece of luggage up there.

Shopping bags are an unfortunate, but sometimes necessary, piece of carry-on luggage.  However, I have to say that if you find yourself using plastic grocery bags as carry-ons on even a semi-regular basis, you really need to rethink your travel strategy.

Wheelie bags.  Wheelie bags are one of the most diabolical evils ever foisted upon the traveling public...and, like most diabolical evils, it, at first, seemed to be a good thing.  A bag, with wheels and a handle, that you wouldn't have to carry, just pull behind you like a grown-up version of a little red wagon.  What could be better?  Why nothing, nothing at all...until you have a plane full of people trying to maneuver their bloated wheelies down a narrow 757 aisle and heft them up and stuff them into an overhead bin.  The GI's in World War II presciently invented the word "blivet" to describe this situation...and men, if you are young and in good health, and I see you trotting down a concourse with a little wheelie carry-on bag trailing behind you....well, let's just say that I have to assume you are flying off to see a Cher concert and your wheelie contains your "in-drag" costume.  Man up, bro.

Having said all this, on extended trips when I have to check luggage, for years, my "go-to" bag has been a Land's End duffel that has served me long and well:

I have survived for multiple weeks out of the contents of this bag...and had enough extra room to pack trinkets for family members for the return trip (Attention female relations: Those Prada bags you're sporting around came back from Shanghai in this bag).  But there's a problem here.  After a few trips of lugging this bag through the Frankfurt airport through tunnels like this:

I realized, like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, that I was getting too old for this shit.  I needed to trade in my old faithful duffel for a wheelie bag that I could check  in.  Let me stress that this, given my tirade about wheelies earlier, would only be for luggage that I have to check, because whenever I cannot carry - as in hold in my hands - my carry-on luggage onto a plane, that will be a signal that I need to stay home sitting in my rocker wrapped in a shawl. Either that, or start going "dress-up" to Bett Midler concerts.

So, after having just lugged my Land's End duffel through the Honolulu airport, I decided I needed to buy a wheelie bag I could check.  After doing a lot of research, I've decided on this one, (Click on the "fit1" picture) because sometimes, the redhead likes to travel with me.


  1. That's a fine, fine, piece of wheelie bag there. "Fit 1" = HEH.

    Oh Lord YES, what's up with the pigs taking up the entire overhead bin? Just saw that again recently: everyone's bringing 2 or 3 "carryons" and cramming them in the overheads because they don't want to pay to check a bag.

    Me, I have one bigass rolling bag and it rolls in ALL directions easily and I pay to check it.

    On the plane I ONLY carry an old Anne Taintor (scroll down to #28, that's the caption/pic on mine) messenger bag with my wallet and stuff in it. I don't ever carry a purse. So I thoughtfully donate MY third of the overhead to one of the cheap and clueless.

  2. I haven't been on a plane in years, so my past carryon might be too gigantic these days. I have a survivalist approach to packing: take everything because 1. you might have to live on a deserted island like on Lost, or 2. your house might burn down while you're gone and you lose all the stuff.
    I think this is why I have to drive places.
    That, and I'm probably on a watchlist or two.

  3. What about the people that take TWO of the wheelie carryons (usually the big ones) and claim that one is their "personal item." UMMM. . . that is supposed to be a purse or umbrealla. I hate that!