If you’re travelling for business and your briefcase containing all of your portable electronic devices doesn’t conform to your airline’s carry-on standards, you can forget that business trip!
In this post I will provide some general airline travel tips and provide suggestions on what types of baggage you should travel with and the contents each baggage type should contain.
How many times have you packed for a trip only to end up using half if not less of what you packed? We have all done it at some point. As we become more seasoned travellers, we learn how to pack more wisely. In the US, more and more people are travelling (see infographic from Hudson News below), and most of whom (I say from experience), do not know how to pack appropriately. Now, airlines are beginning to crack down on these passengers and you need to be prepared for it the next time you fly.
Last week Air Canada announced that they will begin strictly enforcing their carry-on allowance at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto effective this past Monday and they will begin doing so in other international airports across the country over the coming months. This means that at all check-in and security check points, Air Canada will be checking passengers’ carry-on baggage to ensure that it meets their specifications. If it does, each bag will be tagged with a “Carry-on Approved” tag. If the bag does not meet the airline’s specifications, passengers will be required to check their bags before proceeding through security.
When I heard this news, I thought “This is great news! It’s about friggin’ time!!!”. For those of you who read my article “The Top 10 Worst Airline Passengers I’ve Encountered”, you will recall me mentioning my frustration with the “Carry-on Cow”. You know, those passengers that have multiple and/or oversized bags and who naturally board the aircraft before you and then there is no room for your appropriately sized carry-on. Or those who deliberately try to sneak on baggage that they know is oversized so that they can avoid the baggage check fees. When this happens, the flight attendants then have to make arrangements to check their baggage and do that at no additional fee. My neighbor who is a baggage handler for Air Canada informed me that this is the reason for 95% of flight delays. That’s insane!!! So I’m extremely relieved that Air Canada is taking the lead in doing this, especially because that is the airline I most frequently fly on. I presume other airlines will follow suit shortly.
If you’re guilty of being one of those Carry-On Cows or just uncertain about the size of your carry-on bag, here are some helpful hints:
1. Research your airline’s baggage allowance policy BEFORE you PACK and plan what you will bring accordingly. You may have to buy new luggage.
TIP: Many companies sell bags with labels describing the bag as “carry-on size” when that is not the case at all. Bring a measuring tape with you and measure the luggage dimensions before you buy!
2. Wear you bulkiest items (largest shoes/boots, coats etc) on the plane.
3. Leisure Travellers: As long as you have your PHOTO ID and CREDIT CARD EVERYTHING ELSE CAN BE REPLACED. If you try to pack everything as carry-on because you are afraid of the airline losing your luggage, you won’t be able to get away with this anymore. Either pack less or just commit to packing a checked bag and don’t put any real unreplaceable items in it.
4. Portable Electronic Devices Can NOT be CHECKED. This is because most of these devices (laptop, chargers, batteries, GPS, mobile power inverter, etc) contain lithium ion batteries which are classified as dangerous goods. Their improper storage on an aircraft may result in an explosion, fire or short circuit, all of which will not only destroy the device but may pose a flight hazard.
This can pose a dilemma for business travelers who usually must carry several if not all of these devices. They take up half of my briefcase and they are items I cannot do my business trip without. So if you don’t pack them appropriately in your carry-on, you won’t be able to check them and therefore won’t be able to board the aircraft for that important business trip. Try explaining that to your boss!
To help you decide how to pack appropriately for your next trip, I have laid out my packing suggestions in the table below:
What’s in my baggage?
- Photo ID/Passport (You can’t board without it!)
- Wallet (Relax– you can always buy whatever you forgot!)
- Pens (Yes pens –If you are travelling internationally you will have to fill out customs immigration forms)
- Cell Phone and charger
- Travel documents (Yes I still keep paper copies of everything. After all you never know when your phone or tablet will die
- iPad and charger
- Personal articles such as liquids and gels (-moisturizer, hand sanitizer, lipstick, lighter), hair brush, gum, kleenex.
TIP: The best way to relieve pressure in your ears due to altitude changes is to blow your nose
Large Purse or Laptop Case (same dimensions):
- Same as above except my laptop instead of iPAD (that’s just a toy!)
- Small detail binder including literature
- Chargers, adaptors
- Clothes – only enough for my trip. It is OK to wear something more than once!
- Toiletries (that are less than 100mL each and total no more than 1L) in a TSA-approved bag
TIP: Be sure to use a hardside briefcase to prevent yourself from over-stuffing it and making it oversized!
- Laptop and charger
- GPS, cable and mount
- Phone charger (for wall and car)
- iPod and aux cable
- Power cord (most hotel rooms NEVER have enough outlets!)
- Detail Binder
- Literature (sell sheets)
- Schedule/ Calendar for all of my appointments – Yes I’m old school! I prefer a paper back-up
- Sales Reports (paper copies for handy reference)
Yes, believe it or not I squeeze all of this into my little briefcase!
TIP: If it gets full, I either put some literature in my checked baggage or arrange to have it shipped to me at my destination.
- You can put anything in here, except something that you cannot replace (i.e. family heirloom etc) or that is very heavy as most airlines will charge you an additional $100 or more if your back is over 50lbs.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful for when you are preparing for your next trip be it for business or pleasure. If you would like any more specific advice, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or provide your questions in the comment field below.
Safe travels my friends, and just as a reminder, don’t be that Cary-on Cow. You won’t get away with it for much longer and certainly not if you fly with Air Canada.