Make us your home page
Instagram

Act like a business traveler to get through the holiday season

Here's the best advice I've heard for holiday fliers: Act like a business traveler.

Think ahead. Take along only what you absolutely need. Know your equipment and the airline's rules about it. And finally, don't back down when someone of questionable authority gets in your way.

This is especially important when it comes to your carry-on bags.

Fliers are lugging more roll-aboards, backpacks, laptop cases and shopping bags. Airlines fees for checking luggage — $15 or $20 each way for the first bag — are inspiring vacationers to travel like pack animals.

At the same time, there's less room to stash carry-ons inside the cabin. Airlines have cut flights and switched to smaller aircraft on many routes to improve profitability. That means more passengers are squeezed into each plane, often with less overhead bin space. Do the math.

Airlines are on the lookout for bags that exceed their size limits. You might get sent back to check your carry-on (and pay that fee). Or maybe just be in for an inconvenience, like Stephen Sharkey of Dade City.

He was headed to a US Airways flight at Tampa International when a security officer checking his boarding pass flagged his tightly packed leather duffel. Sharkey had to get a bag from an airport shop and move clothes from the duffel. "This,'' he grumbled, "makes no sense at all.''

Here are some hints to avoid a carry-on hassle.

Know what's legal: Each airline has its own baggage rules, usually expressed in linear inches or the sum of the length, width and depth. The most common is 22-by-14-by-9. But check on the airline's Web site.

Know your bag size: Measure the outside dimensions. Include the handle and wheels. Together, they can add 3 inches. Don't go on past experience alone, says Susan Foster, author of the book Smart Packing for Today's Traveler. "Just because they allowed it last time doesn't mean it's legal,'' she says.

Stand tall: If you know what the airline allows and the dimensions of your bag, don't back down when someone with questionable authority challenges it. The person most likely to reject your carry-on is a private security guard, called a line checker, hired by the airline. Be insistent that they measure.

You might still lose: Even if you do everything right, there just may not be any more storage space when you reach the plane. An agent should gate-check your bag at no charge. It will ride in the cargo hold for the trip, so take out anything you need during the trip, such as medicine. If you're catching a connecting flight, make sure the bag is tagged for your final destination.

Much as I wish the idea of flying like a business traveler was mine, it came from Joe Brancatelli. A longtime business travel writer/editor and founder of the Web site JoeSentMe.com., he's probably the top expert on road warriors.

Business travelers, Brancatelli says, are meticulous for good reason: They know what it's like when things go wrong on the road and will do most anything to slide through without a hitch.

Wouldn't that be a holiday blessing?

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

.Fast facts

Tips for

packing small

• Don't pack an outfit for each day. Pack interchangeable pieces based on one neutral color and wear each piece more than once.

• Choose items that pack small: a merino wool sweater instead of a sweatshirt; micro-fiber slacks, not jeans; loafers instead of boots.

• Take only the amount of toiletries and cosmetics needed for the trip. One ounce of shampoo lasts two weeks with daily use.

• Choose combination products: shampoo/conditioner; moisturizer/sunscreen; sunscreen/insect repellent.

• Minimize shoes. Take two pair of men's shoes, wearing one and packing the other. Women can take three pair, wear one and pack two.

Source: Susan Foster, author of Smart Packing for Today's Traveler

Act like a business traveler to get through the holiday season 12/15/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]