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Okay, I’ve been neglecting this blog for quite a while. I’m busy and I’m lazy…so you know it had to be something good to get me back on the interwebs.

It’s the holiday season, y’all. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and the rush to the interstate and the airports has begun. Everyone is traveling. Depending on when you start your travels, mass transit will be packed, traffic will be backed up, and the lines at the airport will be crazy! I’ll be heading to the airport tomorrow afternoon.

Now, I consider myself a seasoned traveler. I travel quite a bit for work. I feel pretty confident in navigating my way through any airport. I’ve learned to get there early, to be patient, to be kind, and to be thankful for those who are performing a truly thankless job. That’s why I’m a little cheesed off about something I heard yesterday.

Someone I know reported that he/she (gender neutral to protect the guilty) headed off on vacation yesterday with six other people. This person reported that each member of the group got through the airport and to their destination with two carry-ons each. Now, I admit, I don’t know all the details, but in the context of the report, the “carry-ons” sounded like two suitcases. This is important. Why? Like I said, I travel a lot – which means I have listened to the gate agents many, many times as they explain what one is allowed to bring on the plane. It is true: a traveler is allowed to bring two carry-on items. However, in my experience, the gate agent always explains what “two carry-on items” means: a suitcase and a briefcase, a suitcase and a purse, maybe even a suitcase and small shopping bag. I have never, ever heard a gate agent say that it’s okay to bring two suitcases on board as carry-on items. That said, I’m sure it happens. But it shouldn’t. Why? Because I and probably every other passenger on the plane are just as anxious to make our connections, to get to our destination and not have to worry about lost luggage, and to avoid paying the stupid checked bag fee. Overhead bin space is at a premium. We all want it. So it totally sucks when a group of seven people get on the plane with FOURTEEN carry-on items.

And frankly, I think it violates the Unwritten Airplane Code. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the code that says we’re all in this together. The one that causes total strangers to turn to each other in the security line, roll their eyes, sigh and smile as they are asked to remove their shoes yet again. The one that leads the person traveling alone to trade seats with the mom a few rows back so that she can sit next to her kids. The one that says my travel plans and your travel plans are equally important, so let’s work together to make sure we both get to our destinations with as little discomfort and inconvenience as possible. It’s the one that says it is really, really uncool to board with two “carry-on” suitcases when you know you should have checked one!  Remember that code?

I get it. Believe me, I get it. The airlines continue to find new and exciting ways to screw the 99 percent. We’ve already paid through the nose for the privilege of being packed onto glorified cattle cars to get to our destination, and we’re lucky if we’re offered a packet of stale peanuts for our trouble. Would you like a cocktail to get you through this experience in a comfortable, mind-numbing haze? Hope you brought a fat roll of singles, cuz it’s gonna cost you. You’ve found a way to strike back. You’ve found a loophole and you are going to exploit it. Two carry-ons? Yes, sure. So what if the suitcase doesn’t fit into that little carry-on size checker at the gate? So what if your “purse” is the size of a large Macy’s bag? You’ve outfoxed The Man! Shove it, airlines!

So yeah – I get it. But it’s still not cool. By ignoring the Unwritten Airplane Code, you’ve managed to make everyone else’s trip a little more trying. Thanks for that. And congratulations.

So to all of you holiday travelers out there, I’m begging you: please, please abide by the Unwritten Airplane Code. Get there early. Keep smiling. Tap into your patience reserves. Share the overhead bins. And live by The Code.

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