Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Make Up Your Mind

Ahhhh…just when I think I have nothing to post, something comes up which cannot be ignored. As you may know, my brain has been playing mental Pong trying to decide whether to use my mid-size suitcases or buy larger ones for our trip to Ireland next month. If you don’t remember this, take a look here.

Yesterday, I decided to go shopping to see if I could find an inexpensive large suitcase with the idea that I could always return it if I decided to use the smaller ones. Lo and behold, I found a 59 linear inch suitcase at one of my favorite discount stores made by the same manufacturer as my other luggage. So, of course I just had to buy it.

I immediately brought it home and proceeded to measure it just to make sure it was less than the 62 linear inch maximum set by the airlines. I never trust the measurements listed on the tag attached to the bag. So we measured and here’s where it gets dicey. Yes, it is 59 linear inches IF you only measure the bag part itself. If you also include the handles, feet and wheels, however, it measures a whopping 64 linear inches. Hmmm.

Concerned I could get to the airport with the bag only to find out it was considered “oversized” and would cost me $50 dollars extra per flight, I called the airlines and spoke to Tiffany, a friendly representative. I explained my question and, after putting me on hold to check, she came back on the line and told me that the measurement only includes the bag itself and NOT the wheels, handles and feet. Whew…that made me happy…for a moment.

I guess it comes from years of getting conflicting information from companies and organizations but I just couldn’t feel 100% confident that I’d been given the correct information. I wanted something in writing that I could take with me to the airport on travel day in case there was a question about the size of my bag. I went to the airlines website and found a customer service form to fill out with comments, suggestions or questions. I did just that and then waited for a reply. This morning I opened my email and found one from the airline’s Customer Service representative Austin. Sure enough, Austin writes that the handles, feet and wheels ARE included when measuring a suitcase. Grrrrrrrr.

Of course I sent them another email explaining that I’d been given conflicting information about baggage measurement and I wanted a final, decisive answer to my question. Now we’ll just have to wait and see what they have to say. Check back for their "final" answer…if I ever get one.

17 comments:

Renee said...

Ugh! That's so frustrating. I'm betting that the Airline doesn't have anything in writing that says if the wheels and handles should be included...so Tiffany gave you the typical girl's answer and Austin gave you the typical boy's answer.
Keep bugging them and make someone give you a definate answer. I think it's usually the ticket agent who makes the final call.

Good Luck!

Pam said...

We have a monster suitcase that supposedly met the guidelines, but indeed, we had to fork over the extra bucks when they deemed it to be too big. And you know what? If they don't get you with the measurement, they'll get you with the weight. That bigger bag ALWAYS goes over the weight limit.

Good luck and I hope you get something definitive in writing!

patches said...

Good thing you verified the information. I've TSA has the same kind of issues amount accurate information. Different airports, different agents, different variations on procedures.

Toni said...

I have NEVER had them measure anything but the bag, but I understand why you are concern.

Lynn said...

My conservative approach would be to err on the side of the smaller bag. Why even put yourself in a situation that has the potential to aggreviate you? If you bring the 59" suitcase you will be fretting at every airport, instead of relaxing. I say go with the one you know will 'pass mustard' regardless of who is measuring it.

rosemary said...

WEEEELLLL,,,my hubby that has a cazxillion FF miles says it does in fact include wheels, handle bumpers etc. If your other luggage has wheels, a strap to hang one off the other, I'd go with two smaller and a carry on....but I bet you will be sorry you ever asked by the time we all get through commenting!!!

Patti said...

I vote with your sister. Take a smaller bag that you know will pass the measuring test. It takes the worry out of everything.

Lynn said...

Silly me...Before anyone decides to correct me (that includes you Patti ;~)), I realize that the proper saying is "pass muster" not "pass mustard"...of course at first I thought I had written "pass the mustard"...must have been hungry when I commented, either that or it's the excessive heat and smoke and ash.

Ralph said...

Take the smaller suitcase and practice more creative packing. Save the US $50 to convert into Euros to purchase more baubles in Eire...

Joan said...

Renee: I agree...I think there really is no answer and it's just the luck of the draw whether you get a nice or strict representative when you get to the counter. Sigh...

Pam: I bought a handheld travel luggage scale to make sure I don't go over the weight limit since I seem to pack everything in the world. So far it's kept us from paying the extra bucks.

Patches: Unfortunately, this lack of correct information seems to run rampant among corporate America's customer service departments. It is so frustrating and can result in lots of unhappy people.

Toni: Last trip we actually saw them place someone's large suitcase in a little cage thing they had at the desk which apparently helps them measure. The bag fit into the cage (thank goodness) so the person didn't have to pay extra but that's what has me worried.

Lynn: Yes I would probably fret about my luggage all the way to the airport and then again when it was time to come home and we had to check it in again. And as far as the smoke and ash...nice try but I don't buy them as an excuse!!! :~D

Rosemary: Please thank your hubby for the info. That's why I questioned the info Tiffany gave me originally because I was surprised she said the bag only and not the feet, wheels and handles.

Patti: If I take the smaller bag, how will I ever decide what to eliminate from my packing list??? What could I possibly do without?!?!?! :~)

Ralph: Ooooooh...I never thought about using that extra $50 I'd save to buy stuff in Ireland. I guess I can whittle the packing list down to just the bare essentials...Ok, maybe I can.

meno said...

The sad thing is that i have no trouble believing that you got two different answers, such is my faith in customer service.

Mimi Lenox said...

When I flew last month the security lady took everything out of my makeup bag and even declared my mascara a "liquid" - chastising me severely for my negligence.
It was crazy.
No one else had ever done that before. And I thought I had followed their regulations to the letter.

Good luck. You'll need it!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

mimi is right, it has to be in a ziplock bag too, sample sized toothpaste, etc. all our stuff got thrown out too. and the guy was MEAN to boot, like wtf you dumb old broad, can't you follow rules or what? grrrrr. go smaller and pare down what you take some more, you won't wear it all anyway. and you will wear things more than once too. that's where i was able to save space. i hand washed in the bathroom at night too. if it was a little damp i took the blow dryer to it. good luck, don't stress, and have FUN!!!

smiles, bee

Joan said...

Meno: I agree! There are no right answers anymore when it comes to customer service...only different answers!

Mimi: Welcome. And thanks for the heads up. I would never have considered mascara a potential problem and I always carry a tube with me. I guess just about everything in my purse will have to go into that one quart bag you're allowed.

Empress bee: I guess I need to practice getting all my carry-on "liquids" into a one quart Ziploc bag before going to the airport. For the first time ever, I'm leaving my shampoo/conditioner at home and the rest (including Woolite) I'll pack in my checked bags in multiple layers of Ziploc bags to prevent leakage. What a pain...

Renee said...

yeah, Joan...that story was completely autobiographical. It was about our move to Korea. The only thing I left out was DD.

The words he gave just made me think of that time.

for me to write the words just have to fall into place in a story. If it doesn't come like that, then I don't write the story. Most of my 3 word stuff is fiction, but that happened to be real.

Carmen said...

Let me introduce you to my packing secret. SPACE BAGS! These are the greatest packing invention ever.

AND don't bring everything you own. For ireland, especially, I'd bring pants and a shirt for each day, and a jacket to layer (a rain jacket would be best). I've travelled a lot, and when I first started out, I packed the kitchen sink. Now, I go for the minimum!

Joan said...

Carmen: Thanks for the help! We use the really large Ziploc bags instead of SpaceSavers because I'm cheap!!