Carry On Baggage

“There are only two types
of luggage, carry-on and lost.”

Requirements for airlines vary. Some are 22, some are 21, some are 21.5 or so, inches. Most were 10, with a few listed at 9 inches. Most were 14, one or two 18, so to be safe?

21 by 14 by 9 is the safest size for a single carry-on.

SWA 24 by 16 by 10.

My preferred carrier, SWA, offered a generous size, but that won’t always work. Always figured they had to make allowances for livestock — on certain flights.

Carry On Baggage

Here’s the first challenge, I rarely travel anything else but by SWA, any more, and they have free checked baggage, with a weight limit of 50 pounds per checked bag, and two or three bags checked free — not really free, but certainly included in the cost of the ticket.

“Same low price, luggage or not.”

People tend to pick me up at baggage claim, anyway, so if it is free? Might as well check it. That way I can carry lotions, potions, various unguents, and emoluments, as need be.

For what I do carry on? Books, electronics, chargers, and toothbrush, as well as some OTC plus prescription meds, as seasons dictate.

  • American Airlines lost a suitcase once, got it 24 hours later. Intact.
  • United Air lost my suitcase once, too. Not a fan, but in all situations, the luggage caught up with me, 12-24 hours later.
  • SWA misplaced my suitcases twice now, no, three times but in a quarter century (three decades) of travel for work? I’ll let that one go. I was flying as often as once or twice a month, for a spell. The last time SWA misplaced a bag, they had to hotshot the luggage from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, some kind of added expense. When I was with the suitcase, that same shuttle ride cost, like $60.

While I’m no longer exactly a frequent flyer, but infrequent enough.

In the recesses of time, dark alleys sometimes best left alone, there was time when I was sort of commuting from Phoenix to Dallas via SWA, and that meant a connecting flight through — I always picked Albuquerque. Way it was timed, I could get off one flight, hop on the next and let my luggage be delivered a few hours later. Got a delay one time, and went Phoenix to OKC then down to Dallas, and no delay, but that was an exception.

It was a simpler time, and nod towards “Letter of the Law” (The since-recalled Wright Amendment) versus SWA’s “whatever works” attitude.

The good old days of plastic boarding passes and handshake deals.

A few days back, I looked at travel site with a new version of an iconic-looking suitcase. Intrigued, clicked through to the actual tech specs, construction was "Vulcanized fiberboard," in other words? Expensive, cheap cardboard.

Can’t play fast and loose with such choices anymore. So the size I would suppose that I’m looking for? Starts at a basic box size of 22 X 14 X 9 (inches) — to be safest.

Hard or soft? Might have a different definition?

This is a time when Saturn, currently in residence in the tropical zodiac sign of Sagittarius, has something to teach me.

Looks like my current shoulder bag 18 X 12 X 6 — the one Zero Halliburton that’s a perennial favorite, even to this day? 21 X 12 X 8 with its older sibling, seen here and here, 21 X 13 X 7. At least one of those is old enough to really fit the “under seat” guidelines. Think, “Old School.”

Worn Canvas

For years, I’ve searched and researched, scoured the inter-webs, and done due diligence on luggage. The perfect combination.

The effect of worn, warm canvas intrigues me, and when I had that first Timbuk2 custom built bag, I made sure to order black canvas. Most recently, that’s seen use as a daily carry for Austin’s rock shop.

In an eloquent look at luggage, yet again, TBR looks at a Filson. Last time I handled one of those was in Santa Fe, in a manly hipster shop. The owner, too old to be a hipster himself, dragged out his original Filson and talked about its qualities, as useful — enduring — luggage.

Frankly, it was beaten to within an inch of its life, and, according to the owner, still going strong.

Worn Canvas

The long entry about the Filson (canvas) briefcase brought up memories of my own, leather saddlebag briefcase. In the last year, I’ve used it once — test run — for The Rock Shop, and in between? That old leather bag has soaked up two bottles of leather conditioning oil. It is perfect for carrying an iPad, a charger, and maybe a book — but there is no room for a spare shirt or lunch. Or water bottles.

But my standard — custom-built canvas — Timbuk2 from years ago, despite a tiny spots of wear, still holds up well. It has an added advantage of a broad, well-anchored, integral shoulder strap. The backside is nylon padded and zippered, but the front is that canvas that is starting to wear its age with pride, softening and graying in places.

Carry On Baggage

Can one size fit all?

A conundrum if there ever was one. And yes, for now, for the rest of this month, anyway, maybe the rest of this season, I can have one size fit all, as that shoulder bag is still useful for Austin by day, El Paso for a weekend, and other trips, as need be. Beautiful, worn canvas, aging to perfection.

If this were the beginning of the career rather than the tail? I would order the larger bag, in canvas. I think this one was a “Medium,” or large, and the best option is “extra large,” at least with this one brand.

Get the canvas and get one that fits the 21-inch rule for carry-on.

Carry On Baggage

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Kramer Wetzel

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