PSA: Keep your carry-on compact

Traveling to Minneapolis last weekend for a 48-hour trip, Adam and I each packed a carry-on-sized suitcase for the plane. It was a two-day trip but the weekend’s full itinerary dictated several costume changes, requiring us to pack our suitcases to the top.

When we arrived at the O’Hare International Airport, we were surprised — but not that surprised — to see a long line at security. Long security lines are common at the busiest airport in the Milky Way, but upon closer examination, we realized that the long line was to enter the security line for United Airlines. (If any airport could create a line to enter a line, O’Hare would find a way.) An airport staff person was checking every carry-on bag and making sure that it fit inside of the container indicating the dimensions of a proper bag.

The line seemingly reached all the way to Midway, so we found a different, shorter line — and we crossed our fingers that these staff people didn’t check our bag size. But, of course, they did, complying with a brand-new United policy.

The agent watched as we stuffed each of our bags into the container. We huffed and puffed and stretched and smushed until Adam’s bag fit into the specific-width box. My big was slightly too bulky — so the agent told us to take some things out of the bag. We took out two boots and a hair dryer and then the bag fit perfectly in the box (though pulling it out was a challenge). And then we put the boots and hair dryer right back in the bag and were on our way to the security line.

The whole process took about 10 minutes. I can only imagine what would happen if they did this to every traveler.

On the way home, at the Minneapolis airport, the employees didn’t blink an eye when we walked through with our slightly bulky carry-ons. Maybe it’s just part of being Minnesota Nice.

The point is: Beware of the new rules when traveling and don’t overstuff your carry-ons if you can avoid it. You have been warned.


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