Shop Tom Bihn
Tom Bihn Forums: Community discussion on travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Bag Size Flight Limitations - Aeronaut and Western Flyer/Tri-Star

    I've spent a lot of time trying to decide between the Aeronaut and the Western Flyer/Tri-Star. I finally took the plunge and purchased the Aeronaut last night! However, considering that I am a photographer and often will be bringing a decent amount of equipment/chargers/etc., I think it will be very likely that just the Aeronaut alone won't be enough space for a 2 month trip to the Philippines. Not certain which airline I'll be flying yet (it won't be one of the budget airlines with the strict one carry-on only limits), but I was wondering if anyone knows or has had any experience "one-bagging" with 2 carry ons? The Aeronaut would obviously be my main carry-on, but could I get away with the Western Flyer/Tri-Star as my personal item? This way I'd be able to use the Aeronaut for the photo gear and a few stuff sacks with socks and underwear and allow me to pack the rest of my clothing in the other bag.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Hard to say as it really depends on the airline but trying to convince a gate agent that a TS is a "personal item" will be a stretch. A WF might be do-able but it still won't be easy and you may end up having to gate check to Aeronaut.

    Me? I'd take an Aeronaut and a more traditional looking computer case like an Empire Builder.
    When in trouble, obfuscate.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Calgary Alberta Canada
    As someone who used to fly with guitars all the time I feel as I might be able to help. I don't think this should be a problem at all if you follow some rules.

    1. Put all your valuable items and in-flight items in one bag, worst case scenario-you will have to gate check one of your bags.
    2. Don't ask permission, ask forgiveness, never bring attention to your second carry on, if someone spots it tell them you plan on gate checking it further down the line even if you don't.
    3. Camouflage! Black bags work best, and bring a jacket to drape over your smaller bag when checking in and when boarding-everyone in between doesn't care. When you get to your seat place the bag on your chair covered by the jacket while you stow your other carry-on. When you are ready to sit down stow your smaller carry-on under the seat.
    4. Get a window seat towards the back of the plane. You will board first/have first dibs on space available.
    5. Know your plane, you probably don't need this but other people with larger/longer items will. Some planes have lockers in the bulkheads and other stowage areas onboard. Practice your puppy dog eyes and a stewardess will have your item safely stowed in moments.
    6. If the gate attendant busts you, point out how valuable your second item is, be firm yet polite. Tell them the check-in agent said it wouldn't be a problem. Tell them you would pretty pretty please like to keep a hold of it. Tell them it always fits under the seat. Tell them you always fly 737s and have never had a problem. Tell them anything, just be an angel about it, they deal with self entitled A**holes all day and if you aren't one chances are they will bend the rules.
    7. Use your frequent flyer status, if you have anything, aluminum member, you applied for an avion visa in college, you dated a flight attendant use it to try to get an upgrade or extra bag allowance.
    8. Busted!!! Be prepared to gate check one of the bags. It's not the end of the world. Of course keep all your expensive gear and gatecheck your clothes bag at the gate. The procedure is different for gate checking compared to regular checking, it's part of the preflight checklist, they can't move the flight-way before they move your luggage to the plane, they can't close the hatch before the gate is moved, they can't take-off with an open hatch. If they forget your luggage you have bigger problems with your flight-crew.

    So overall if you stash all of your clothes in your aeronaut and get a smaller Tom Bihn bag and/or TB Camera I/O for your camera stuff/inflight stuff you should be perfectly fine. Even if you have to gate check your aeronaut it will miss most of the evil conveyor belts and luggage handlers.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    I would go for something more appropriate to carry and protect your camera gear along with the Aeronaut... with the assumption being that your valuable and fragile camera gear stays with you on the plane and you check the Aeronaut when needed. I use an inCase DSLR sling which fits my iPad or MacBook Air11 and a DSLR with spare lens or two.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    North East US
    Just my two cents (I don't carry around lots of expensive/important photo gear), use the Western Flyer with the Aeronaut. It will fit under your seat, unless there's a media box mounted under there. As Miking mentioned above, get it in black, keep it slung low, and smile smile smile.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Lani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Northern California
    Quote Originally Posted by ceb View Post
    Hard to say as it really depends on the airline but trying to convince a gate agent that a TS is a "personal item" will be a stretch. A WF might be do-able but it still won't be easy and you may end up having to gate check to Aeronaut.
    I couldn't vouch for a Western Flyer working as a personal item, either. I *can* tell you, however, that a Packing Cube Backpack works easily as a personal item. You might be able to get away with a Synapse, as well.

    One thing to keep in mind: A 2-month trip shouldn't require a lot more than what you would take for a 4 or 5-day trip. Be as minimalist as you can. If you find that there's something you absolutely need that you didn't pack, you can buy it while you're there. You can also acquire some "souvenirs" in the form of T-shirts and whatnot, and you can easily either ship those home, or check them in on your way home.
    Lani Teshima: A Dyneema diva with a closetful of Tom Bihn products!
    Publisher, The Travelite FAQ: Don't get saddled with baggage—free yourself & your mind by packing lightly!
    Editor, MousePlanet: Detailed park guides, daily news & stories from all over the Disney kingdom | Technical writer | Marathoner

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts