Two carry on bags per person. Period. That's the rule. And then the rule gets more specific...one bag must be small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you, and then the other bag can be stowed in the overhead bin as long as it fits within the small overhead bin tester box provided by the airline. And if you have a bigger bag that requires overhead bin compartmentalization, your second bag could be a laptop bag OR a purse, but not BOTH, because then, that would be 3 bags. And that's against the rule.
I take this rule, and most rules, seriously. As a travelling professional woman, this means I have a carry-on suitcase, a laptop bag, AND a purse! Oh no, 3 bags! So, I always leave room in my carry-on bag in which to stuff my purse after I have removed my wallet and cell phone from it and inserted those into my laptop bag. This way, before I EVEN go through security, I am in compliance with the rules. Purse inside the carry-on suitcase = 1 bag. Laptop bag = 1 bag. TOTAL = TWO BAGS.
Why then, when I was waiting to board the plane, was there a young woman in front of me with FOUR BAGS?!? A very, VERY large "carry-on" suitcase, a duffel bag, and two very large purses, one on each arm (OK - I'm a purse girl, but I rarely find the occasion to carry two at once, but I digress). So, this young woman was with a group of many other 20-somethings, heading back to Detroit, oh excuse me Ann Arbor, and they all sounded like the cast of the Real OC (I think they were trying to look like them, too, but they weren't as cute). Are you going to Ann Arbor this weekend? Of course! Where are you staying? Where are you staying? Like we're going to sleep AT ALL. (they roll their eyes) I'm going to start drinking on the plane. Oh my god, we already had a couple of drinks in the airport bar! That is so ghetto. blah blah blah.
Youth envy? Seriously not. But back to the bag story.
How on earth did she get through security with all of those bags?!? She probably has 3 gallons of liquid in all of those bags, too, and you know that I follow the 3-1-1 rule to a T. SURELY they won't let her board the plane with all of that baggage. OMG - they're letting her board the plane with all FOUR of her enormous bags!! She breezed right onto the plane.
So, then, why do I go to all the trouble of transferring my purse belongings to my laptop bag and then transferring the purse itself into my carry-on suitcase? Why do I go to all of the trouble of following the rules?
Here's why. That enormous carry-on suitcase of hers wouldn't fit in the overhead bin even thought there was ample room in the overhead bin for a rule-abiding bag.
Had she followed the rules, she wouldn't have had to hold up the remaining boarding passengers to take her enormous bag to the front of the plane to gate-check it.
Had she followed the rules, she wouldn't have been chastised by the flight attendant for rearranging already stowed bags to try and fit her other bags.
Had she followed the rules, she wouldn't have made an ass out of herself. Ok, she probably still would have made an ass out of herself.
But then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to sit there and smirk while I watched this rule-breaker struggle with her rule-breaking baggage. While I was comfortably sitting in my seat, already buckled, beginning to read a book, prepared for take off, with all TWO of my bags safely stowed.
I'm glad I follow the rules.