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I’m a big fan of checking my bags on airplanes. Between lacking any and all upper body strength, having the inability to plan my packing list and just throwing half my closet in my biggest suitcase before leaving, and being a lazy piece of shit, I almost never bring a carry-on suitcase. I don’t like trying to get it in the overhead bin, I don’t like lugging it around, and I don’t like having to be responsible for it for any longer than necessary.
That said, checking bags isn’t for everyone. In fact, it isn’t for most people. If you’re not well-versed in sending your belongings off for hours or days at a time, planning ahead for saying goodbye to your bag can be pretty hard. Case-in-point: this past weekend.
After an exhausting wedding in Chicago, dealing with luggage was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. So, after a casual (and by casual I mean loud and heated discussion) it was agreed that everyone (and by everyone I mean my SO and I) would both check our bags.
The only thing is, he doesn’t ever check bags, I didn’t realize we had a connection in Dallas, and we didn’t think through the situation. So yes, we fucked up.
Because after the bag that had our car and apartment keys got lost, and we were told at 11:30 p.m. that the airline didn’t know where it was nor would they reimburse us for staying at a hotel for the night. Naturally, we were forced to beg some friends to let us crash like peasants and hope our complex would let us in the next morning. It all worked out eventually (and by “worked out” I mean we had one of those couple fights that make you hate yourself and agreed never to check bags on a connected flight again) but it definitely made me realize that not only are there are some solid rules to checking your bag, but it turns out, not everyone knows that. Idiots.
Take Out Everything You Want
Headphones, books, snacks, sunglasses, condoms — whatever you want, maybe want, or might want in a dream situation, make sure you get it out and get it out now. There’s nothing worse than throwing your perfectly packed suitcase to the TSA Gods, only the realize at 10,000 feet that you forgot your computer, headphones, and your ex’s best friend’s neighbor’s God daughter’s Netflix password in your checked bag.
Take Out Everything You Need
This, it turns out, is very different than taking out everything you want. Sure, it’s all fun and games when you have your book on the plane, but when you get off and realize your house keys are in your checked bag which got lost somewhere between Chicago and Dallas, you’ll wish you would have tripled checked everything you needed. Wallet, keys, and your patience for airlines that want to absolutely fuck you over. All of those are needed on your person when your bag inevitable decides not to make it to your destination.
Have a Backup Plan
You know, just in case your keys, phone charger, wallet, and anxiety medication are shipped off to BFE and you find yourself SOL. Lollllll.
Be Wary Of Connections
It should go without saying but I’m going to say it anyway: If you have a connection, don’t check a bag. Again for the folks in the back: IF YOU HAVE A CONNECTION, DON’T CHECK A BAG. It should be simple, but when you’re trying to cram 7 pairs of shoes in a bag the size of a loaf of bread for a week-long trip, it isn’t easy. If you do need to check it, make sure you keep your essentials on you or risk being the bitch at the wedding wearing an “I Heart NY” tee instead of your bridesmaid dress.
If All Else Fails, Enjoy The Attention
Finally, if and when you inevitably lose your bag, there’s only one thing left to do: bitch about it. Whether you chose to take to Twitter, write a 700-word blog post on a website geared towards postgrads, or just complain endlessly to your friends, every single person has been royally fucked by an airline losing their bag. Everyone can relate, sympathize, and try to one-up you. It’s fun for all, and it’s almost worth going without your prescribed face wash for a night if it means you get that much attention.
Still, I’d love a voucher for a free drink or snack for my troubles. Attention doesn’t get me drunk on a 3-hour trip. Trust me, I’ve tried. Your move, Southwest. .