So there I was standing on the retractable ramp, one step on the plane and the other on the ramp when I heard the shrill voice.

“Ma’am”

Certainly she couldn’t be talking to me, I am still way too young to be a Ma’am. I sigh and with great reluctance turn to greet the approaching voice. The air hostess with claim tickets waving in hand was coming for me. About to board the plane with a 16″ backpack that is 10% full and a small laptop wheeler, I am now being asked to check a bag.

Hmmm – Not likely. The airline shall remain nameless, but they have a poor bag handling track record. Within one month they ruined a 5year old bag (I admit – time to get a new one) and a 2week old bag. Now they want to check my laptop. Let me have a quick think about that. NO!

I proceed to inform the nice air hostess that I fly regularly and both bags will fit under the seat. This was the truth with the exception I come to find out on the plane that I’m on there is barely any foot room by my seat because they have some contraption fitted under it. So I had a discussion with an air hostess grandly refusing to check my bag only to find out that she was partly right. My bag indeed did not fit under MY seat but practically every other seat on the plane – but I suppose the latter irrelevant. The kind gentleman next to be volunteered his foot space and my wheeler went under there with plenty of room for my small 16″ backpack and I was fortunate enough to just be able to sink into my seat and brood.

With my ire stoked and an hour plane ride, I could only think of the injustice, broken policies, and sometimish enforcement of the “rules” (I use this term loosely). Why did I have to pay to check my bag when I could just go to the podium and wait for them to state that they are out of room.

This must be the correct way to avoid being charged a baggage fee. Buy a 22″-26″ bag and make sure it is tall rather than wide that way you can lie it on its side and still close the overhead. Don’t worry that no one else can fit their bag in there – that shouldn’t be a major concern. As a matter of fact, if you just bring any bag to the podium they will check it with no charge once they make the “No Room” statement. So if you check in online, theoretically you could bring the largest bag possible and still not pay a penny.

No one looks at those tiny metal frames mounted against the white placards that ask: Does your bag fit here? Even though TSA agents and airline agents are standing right by them, these frames that are supposed to be used to enforce policy have become more like a vase of artificial flowers. Looked at from afar by first-time viewers but just part of the environment for the old-hands.

I witnessed passengers that somehow made it past two checkpoints with their oversized roller-boards.

Surely TSA’s lives would be that much easier through the checkpoints if more people checked their oversized bags.

How fair is it with this cockamamie zoning rule that Mr. 26″ bag can get his stuff in the overhead and the lady with the claim checks is running down the ramp after all of us in Zone5?  I know – the answer could be simple. I should just pay and arm and a leg and fly first class.

My thoughts on that are this: If I am seated in first class and still am the last one on the plane, do you really think that there would be room at the inn for my bag?  I think NOT!

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