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Airlines Change the Carry-on Rules

written by George Hobica (*Huffington Post)

Recently I had a very unpleasant surprise in the TSA line at New York’s JFK airport. No, they did not do a touchy-feely pat-down or confiscate something.

Just before actually getting to the TSA agent’s podium, a red-jacketed person (who I believe was hired by American Airlines as a subcontractor but not an actual employee) insisted that I put my beloved Rimowa four-wheeled suitcase in a bag sizer. Keep in mind that I was flying in business class, and that I’ve taken this same 21-inch suitcase all around the world on almost every major airline and quite a few not-so-major ones.

To make a long story short, it was rejected as “too big.” What I didn’t realize, because it’s never become an issue, is that American (as well as Delta and United ) have fairly new carry-on bag limits, including a 14-inch maximum width, and my Rimowa is 15 inches wide, as are many carry-ons. Even though it’s an inch shorter than the 22-inch length limit, and an inch shorter than the official 9-inch depth limit, back to check-in I went. And the line was so long I almost missed my flight. I was then told that this is a new “FAA regulation” but I doubt that’s true, since some airlines still have more generous allowances.

One of my colleagues insists that this is a revenue ploy by the airlines: enforce the limits to the letter, and they’ll get more checked bag fees (since I was flying in business class I didn’t pay a fee, but others might not be so lucky).

And these size limits are fairly recent policies. In fact, United made the change on March 2, 2014. Their previous policy was that no dimension could be over 22 inches and the total overall dimensions no more than 45 inches. So these very specific measurements really change the game, and will be causing a lot of headaches — and heartaches when people learn they will have to leave their very expensive (in some cases) favorite bags in the closet or sell them on eBay.

Or change airlines. It’s interesting that not all airlines have the same size limits. Southwest and JetBlue have a more generous 24-by-16-by 10-inch carry-on limit, which, again, makes that “FAA” claim suspect.

If you’re looking for the “perfect” carry-on bag, here’s some advice.

First, obviously, make sure it’s small enough to comply with even these new, more stringent size limits. Second, four-wheeled suitcases (so-called “spinners”), I’ve found, are easier to handle than two-wheeled models (and should you ever have to check your bag for whatever reason, spinners are treated more gently by baggage handlers,as this explains ). But surprisingly, there aren’t that many rolling carry-ons that meet the new Delta/American/United guidelines. The issue isn’t with the 22-inch length because there are plenty of those available; where they fall “short” is exactly where I got nabbed: in the 14-inch width. In fact, I couldn’t find a single suitcase from my beloved Rimowa brand that qualified, nor could I find a current model from Samsonite.

And third, consider getting a suitcase with a good warranty.

Some of the four-wheeled carry-ons that do fit all airlines’ limits are the Briggs and Riley U122CX Baseline at 21 by 14 by 7.7 inches and 8.9 pounds (approximately $469) and the Travelpro Platinum Magna at 21 by 14 by 9 inches and 7.6 pounds (approximately $239 ). Although the Briggs and Riley is more expensive, it does come with an unconditional warranty: no matter who’s at fault (you, the airline, or any other party) they’ll fix it for free for as long as you own it.

With a little research, you’ll find that several other carry-on bags meet the new size requirements, but many current models are too big by just an inch or even a half-inch. And don’t assume that you’ll be able to sneak by just because your bag is an inch too big. As I discovered, that may not happen.

*Article written by George Hobica and appeared on The Huffington Post 06/12/2014 11:51 am EDT

Oct 8

Does your bag weigh too much?

Airlines collected 3.5 BILLION dollars in baggage fees in 2012, some of which was from bags that weighed too much. Don’t get charged for your bag weighing more than the limit!

Here are a few tips to help you avoid extra charges at the airport.

Stay up to date on your airline’s weight limits and restrictions. Check their website periodically prior to your trip.

Make sure your luggage collection is up to date:
If your luggage collection is more than 5 years old, it may be time to reinvest in a new luggage collection. Luggage manufacturers have started to respond to the excessive charges from airlines by offering fully-featured, lightweight bags in multiple sizes. For instance, if you are a packing whiz, you may not need a 28in piece of luggage, a smaller 26in bag may do the trick. For examples of lightweight luggage, check out the Travelpro Maxlite 2 Luggage Collection.

Confer with your hotel concierge to see if they offer a laundry service, if not ask if they could refer you to a service that will launder your clothes while you are on the go.

Are you going on an extended trip? Ship some of your casual clothes to your hotel, alert the staff you are expecting a package and they will have it waiting for you upon check-in. Also, make sure the hotel can ship out the items when you leave. If this service cannot be provided, the staff should be able to direct you to a UPS or FedEx store in the area where you can drop off items to ship back home when you leave.

A luggage scale can be your most important travel accessory. The Lewis N Clark Balanzza Digital Luggage scale is well worth the investment. Small enough to pack, lightweight and accurate, this pocket-sized lifesaver will pay for itself after your first trip!

Do you have a travel question? Want to know which piece of luggage is best for your trip? Ask us here in the comments section, or stop by the Luggage Factory Ringoes, NJ location. We’re here to help.

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Oct 2

Quick Travel Tip

Packing 101

Never pack any valuables, money, passports/travel documents or medication in your checked luggage! Always carry these important items on the plane with you in your carry on bag or tote.

If your checked luggage is lost or delayed, you will be without these important items until your bag is returned to you.

Luggagefactory.com offers a wide variety of luggage, travel accessories, travel wallets and document holders to keep your documents in order while you travel.

Do you have a travel question? Want to know which piece of luggage is best for your trip? Ask us here in the comments section, or stop by the Luggage Factory Ringoes, NJ location. We’re here to help.

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Google + : Luggage Factory
“Follow Us” on Twitter @luggage_factory
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Yes, You really CAN take a long trip in a carry on suitcase!

Packing tips to help you along your journey, from our travel and luggage experts…

The key to maximizing your space is to neatly fold and tightly roll everything! Pack your rolled clothes in layers with smaller items on the outside. A good example of a bag that allows for this would be the Delsey Helium Aero Hardside Carry On. The hardside design of this lightweight, four-wheeled bag provides more open space so your items will stay neatly stacked. This bag style also has a zippered divider panel, so you can separate your clothes in each compartment as you use them.

Other Suggestions:

Make a packing list! Yes, believe it or not, a list can help. Doing this will ensure that you have enough clothes, prevent you from over packing, and most importantly keep you from forgetting anything.

Stick with one or two basic colors and choose items that you can mix and match to create several outfits.

Choose lighter weight, knit fabrics when possible - they will be less likely to show wrinkles.

Luggagefactory.com offers many solutions to aid you in packing. Plus, we have accessories to help your clothing and garments look neat and pressed right out of your luggage.

  • Are you afraid that your garments need a may touch up after unpacking? Lewis N Clark Wrinkle Wiz eliminates wrinkles while refreshing clothes and leaving them smelling as if they were just washed!
  • Make use out of every square inch of your travel bag. Organize t-shirts, shorts, pajamas and more with Eagle Creek Pack It cubes and folders!

Do you have a travel question? Want to know which piece of luggage is best for your trip? Ask us here in the comments section, or stop by the Luggage Factory Ringoes, NJ location. We’re here to help!!

A note about foreign travel and passports

Before any trip abroad, check the US Department of State website at travel.state.gov for all the latest updates and advisories.

In many cases, your passport needs to be valid for at least 90 days past the end of your trip, sometimes longer. Also, some countries require a certain amount of blank pages in your passport book as well. Take a moment to verify the entry requirements for the countries you will be visiting!

LuggageFactory.com offers a wide variety of Passport & Document Holders to keep all your important documents, Boarding Passes/Tickets in order while traveling.

We are here to help…

Cruising? Seeing the country by rail? Jetting off to an exotic locale? Taking a family road trip?

The travel experts at LuggageFactory.com can help! Check this page often for travel tips, suggested products for your trip and answers to all your travel questions! We have the right items to help get you ready for your trip!