Auronaut and Easyjet
I am a newbie! About two weeks ago a coworker of mine merely mentioned the words "Tom Bihn" on a Facebook post and started a stream of events and research on my part that resulted I a visit to the Tom Bihn store / factory last week and $650+ spent on "stuff" :) I've become really quite fascinated with the idea of traveling without checking in. Even more exciting is that my wife is interested in this too - a major shock!
Anyway, part of the interest is the fact that my wife and I have our 25th anniversary trip planned for September - just under 3 weeks in Paris, Rome, Tuscany and a quick return to Paris before returning to Seattle. Our airlines are Icelandic Air, EasyJet and Air France. And EasyJet is worrying me...
I made the mistake of booking the trip a while back and included our usual two bags to be checked in. As far as I am aware, the fact that I paid for that is a done deal (they don't refund baggage fees). I find that borderline unethical (that they won't refund baggage fees, when we have no plans to change the flight) but that's a separate discussion.
But I am concerned about the EasyJet hand baggage restrictions, which I understand to be 50 x 40 x 20 cm if I want to be assured of being able to take it on board. I have an Aeronaut and this was based on the statement on the Tom Bihn site that it's "Designed to qualify as a maximum-size airline carry-on bag". It's 55 cm long, of course. I guess the lack of a rigid frame helps here but it also means I will have to leave a fair bit of space unused. Then again, I've seen comments on here that the Tri Star is the largest Tom Bihn bag that will realistically be feasible on EasyJet.
Still further, I spoke to the chap at the Seattle store and he said that airlines allow the Aeronaut and a personal item - and pointed me to the Pilot as a great example of a bag that would take my 13" laptop and also be acceptable as the "personal item". I've subsequently discovered that EasyJet allow no personal item.
So, all that means I am concerned about whether I bought the wrong bags. Honestly, I think I am really going to struggle to get my stuff in a smaller bag than the Aeronaut (remember, I'm a newbie!). I'd really be frustrated if the EasyJet leg (one way) is going to mess this up and would appreciate thoughts on the reality of a Aeronaut (well, plus the Pilot too) and EasyJet.
First, as you noted, Easyjet will not allow you to take both the Aeronaut and the Pilot on board. One will have to be checked.
So let's see what you are worried about. You are worried that on one leg of your trip, a flight of about one hour, without stops, that's treated like a domestic flight since it's within the Schengen zone so there will be no customs or immigration when you get off the plane, that they may force you to check your bag, something you've already paid for anyway.
And you make it sound that you're going to not only be seriously worrying about this for the next four months but if Easyjet makes you check the bag, it will ruin your anniversary trip.
Here are a few things to know:
1) Gate agents are mostly on the lookout for wheeled bags. It's possible they won't even give you a second look and you'll have given yourself an ulcer for nothing.
2) Any gate agent, regardless of published dimensions, can make you check your carry-on bag if they've run out of room in the overheads.
3) You're not over the limit with Easyjet just over their "guarantee" carry on limits.
4) You have no control over what will happen at the gate but you're willing to worry about it from now until then.
5) You're considering changing the bag you're going to take for the entire trip, which will make you unhappy, because you are worried about this one flight.
I travel with the Aeronaut and have never been forced to check it. I don't pack it so tight, and make it so rigid, that it mimics a hard shelled bag. Have you tried packing it to see what it would be like? And remember, you also have weight limits on Icelandair and Air France.
Next year I'll be flying on an airline that has a maximum carry-on dimension limit equal to Easy Jet's guarantee dimensions. It is the only airline that goes where I want to go. The Aeronaut is too big. Does that mean I should cancel this trip because I may not be able to carry on? Of course not. I'll try to take it on the plane with me, but if I can't, I'll be ready to check it. It's not a big deal.
One other thing, you seem to be beating yourself up for making the "mistake" of paying for checked bags. If I beat myself up for every travel mistake I made, I'd look like Rocky Balboa in the fight scene from the first Rocky movie.
My advice is to relax, chill out and stop worrying. You're going to some beautiful, romantic places with a women with whom you've spent the last 25 years. Think about how enjoyable it will be, think about how much fun you'll have and stop worrying about having to check a bag on one flight.
If this sounded harsh or sarcastic, it was meant to be. I think you're losing perspective on what's really important.
I'd like to point out something else, you sound like you're planning to use the bags only for air travel. They're great for lots of other purposes! The Pilot's great as an everyday bag for one example. You could end up using them for many other purposes way before your trip. If that happens, you'll be getting more than your money's worth.
Stop fretting! It's only slightly more than 3 more months to your awesome trip, start jumping up and down with joyful anticipation instead!
markwill, you sound angry and frustrated. I am not sure if I get against whom you are feeling in that way BUT as you stated that you RESEARCHED before you bought your bags I think non of this would have been nessesary: TOM BIHN Blog: We make travel bags in Seattle, Washington - Page 4 of 127 - TOM BIHN makes cool bags on the block talks about the sizes of bags and what you can bring on plains. And look at that thread (Easyjet is mentioned in there excessively) http://forums.tombihn.com/travel-tip...lyer-okay.html about actual experiences of fellow Bihnions.
I think this all might be the "aftershock" of spending that amount of money on bags? I offten observed that after making "bigger" purchases there is 1. excitement 2. searching for flaws (and with finding some fear and regret) 3. adjusting and coming to peace with the decisions made and money spent 4. recommending the purchase to other as not to be alone and to feel justified by others making the same decisions.
Don't do that to yourself. There are so many intelligent and well-traveled people on this forum with the same bags as you have now. Trust them and trust in your ability to deal with what ever will happen at the airport. As Frank II hinted on: the journey is the part to fokus on. You will have lots of fun and many gorges memories if you can bring yourself not to worry about thinks you can not possible foresee. And as I see it the specifics of carry on luggage might change over time again and again. If you pack as much as you need and as little as possible there is nothing erlse to do. After that you have to pay whatever it will cost to go where you want or need to go.
I do hope that you will overcome your angsitys and that you will grow to love your bags. In that sentiment: welcome to this forum even if the start feels a little bumpy it is great here and you might get a lot of valuable informations.
As others have said, I don't think you've made a massive mistake in buying the Aeronaut + Pilot, given that this is only one leg of your trip. I've flown with EasyJet twice this year and whilst I agree that their carryon rules are needlessly draconian, please don't give yourself a stomach ulcer worrying about it!
Originally Posted by markwill
It's true that you can only take one bag onto the plane, so just go ahead and check the Aeronaut and use the Pilot as your carryon. Trust me, if you try and take two bags through the gate, or even just one over-stuffed one, it will be a lot more stressful (as we found out on our first trip - my husband hadn't read the EasyJet rules thoroughly and I hadn't thought to check them either, since I didn't book the flight).
Alternatively, since you'e already paid to check bags... go ahead and do that. Check a beat-up old suitcase you don't mind getting rid of with just enough stuff so that you can fit the Pilots in the Aeronauts for the EasyJet leg. A good choice for this would be extra toiletries that don't fit in the 3-1-1 bag, which will be disposed of by your return leg. Then get rid of the wheeled luggage once it is convenient to do so.
The only caveat: I haven't flown EasyJet but did some reading about their luggage policies. I believe that a bag the size of the Aeronaut is not GUARANTEED space in the overhead, if the plane is very full. So there is always the chance you have to gate-check it anyway (at no fee).
Good luck! And enjoy your trip.
Thank for the responses everyone. I must admit I was surprised by the strength of some of the comments about my perceived "worry" here. It seems I need to be a little more cautious with my words in future since I didn't relay the extent of my concern too clearly. Frankly, I am just figuring out my options here and really won't be worrying about this much after today. My favorite quote was:
"And you make it sound that you're going to not only be seriously worrying about this for the next four months but if Easyjet makes you check the bag, it will ruin your anniversary trip."
Not even close :) As I say, by tomorrow I will have forgotten about this but had some questions for this forum.
I am also not "beating myself up" over paying for the baggage. It's just a simple fact that I made a mistake for paying for checked baggage that - all being well - I won't need. So, it's just a shame, but nothing more. I won't be punching myself over that :)
So, I am neither angry or frustrated. Just curious as to my options. The comments elsewhere that the Aeronaut may be too much bag caught my attention but I think I'm going to stick with it, not pack to the gills and see how things work out.
So, misunderstandings about how worried I am aside, some of the reason I am interested in this are.
. I haven't flown EasyJet before and wanted to make sure I understood how steadfast they are with the "no personal item" rule. I get that bit now :)
. It wasn't just the cost that was a factor with checked bags. I've been excited to illustrate to my wife how we can just walk off the plane and not wait for baggage. To be clear again, not a big deal at all, but it would be a minor irritation to have to wait for bags in Rome (I read somewhere that baggage claim is often a pretty lengthy delay, but no idea if that is true)
. I'm thinking beyond this one flight. All being well, I hope to do a lot more travel in Europe than recent years and it would be good to generally be able to avoid checking stuff in, hence the questions.
And, yeah, I will have no problems whatsoever enjoying our trip :)
Thanks again everyone.
Welcome to our forums, Mark -- and to the world of carry-on only travel. Sounds like you guys are going on an amazing trip!
Originally Posted by markwill
Ahhh -- I'm sorry for the confusion. Many airlines allow one carry-on and personal item, but, as you've discovered, not all do, most notably the "budget" airlines like EasyJet. We definitely could've been more specific and asked you which airline you were flying and I can see how that line on the Aeronaut page might lead one to think that it'd be "maximum" size for any airline.
Originally Posted by markwill
As far as whether the one bag only could work for you: do you have a packing list that you could share with us? People on here are geniuses about figuring out how to efficiently pack, which bag(s) and accessories to use and deciding what to leave behind that isn't absolutely necessary.
And don't hesitate to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll figure out how to help you exchange or return the bags.
Hope this all didn't cause you too much inconvenience -- I'm glad your trip isn't until September so we can help you get this all sorted out.
Thank you, Darcy. I really appreciate the response and, to be clear, I have no problem at all with the service or information from Tom Bihn. At the store we did discuss the fact that I was flying on EasyJet and had a pretty lengthy discussion about the personal item in general (I bought the Pilot and an inner bag specifically to handle the laptop - I brought my laptop in so we could make sure it fit).
But I can hardly expect Tom Bihn to be on top of each the requirements for each and every airline. That's not a reasonable expectation on my part, given the number of airlines and how they change. I do think the wording on the Aeronaut page might have some sort of qualifier, perhaps an asterisk and a comment, about the maximum size, for the benefit of those that are unaware (like me :)).
But that's a minor consideration - overall, the customer service was tremendous and I found the gentleman at the store very helpful. I have no complaints at all.
I don't yet have a packing list yet - I just packed a bunch of stuff at the weekend to see how things fit but it wasn't exhaustive or scientific. That will come :)
At this stage, I'm sticking with the Aeronaut and the Pilot and we'll see what happens. I may check out the possibility of getting the Pilot inside the Aeronaut for the EasyJet segment. Probably not feasible but I might check it out.
By the way, my wife and I agreed that I am the "tester" for Tom Bihn bags. She wants to see how I get along with it (in shorter trips, not necessarily on planes). She is increasingly interested in the idea of travelling without checking in, which is a pleasant surprise. The challenge is that she thinks an Aeronaut is possibly too big for her, but she will probably need to take more stuff than me.
Thanks again, Darcy.
Hey Mark, don't worry! Lots of people here can relate. It's scary when you realize that the beloved bag you purchased especially for a particular trip may not work. However, I think it will! I haven't traveled with my Aeronaut yet, I just purchased mine a couple of weeks ago, but from what I've read, people carrying soft-sided bags (not wheeled) have great odds that their luggage won't even be given a second glance. If it were me, in this situation (hopefully someday it will be! we have plans to get back to Europe in a few years), I would take the risk with the Aeronaut.
The key is to not overstuff your bag. When I went to France and Ireland way back in 2000, I overstuffed my backpack, and between its bulk and my huffing and puffing trying to carry the thing, I was pulled over and my bag was weighed and checked. Since then, I've carried many large packs on board planes, and as long as the seams aren't bulging and I look comfortable carrying it, they don't even notice me. If you ever notice the folks running the baggage and security lines, they are often looking down at the floor, scanning the rolling carry-ons. I think if you'd bought a rolling carry-on that was an inch or two too big, you'd be better off replacing it. In this case, I think you'll be fine.
So, how do you learn not to overstuff your bag between now and September? The first thing is to look into how you're packing. There are a lot of great accessories you can get to help, including the stuff sacks and packing cubes. I've bought several of these (my favorite fabric is the Dyneema, but it's all great stuff), and as paradoxical as it sounded at first, more bags (packing cubes) in my one bag really do make things feel lighter and more organized.
The second thing is to practice! Practice packing your bag, as often as is fun for you (some of find this very fun). See what it feels like to pack everything you think you'll need. Try carrying it around the house, and up and down stairs. Then, try to take about a third out to leave behind!
One of the ways that has helped me to pack a lot less is to take a piece of paper (or a doc on the computer) and write, "Day 1, Day 2, Day 3," etc. Then I go through and write down every single item of clothing I would need for that day. My tendency is to want to take too many things "as back-up", and then I find out later, when I return home and really scan all my stuff, that I didn't wear nearly a third of what I brought. I just schlepped it around! And often, during travel, I pick up a t-shirt or two, so I come home with this bulging bag. Try to look at your list and take only what you're sure you're going to wear, and then you can cut that down by taking three days (or more, depending on your comfort) worth of clothes and some laundry soap and a laundry line to wash in your hotel room.
There are lots of tips like this one, but to really help yourself feel calmer, definitely try packing your Aeronaut and seeing how it feels!
My husband had to check his aeronaut on a commuter flight from Germany to Poland recently, and took the Synapse 19 as his personal item. The aeronaut was absolutely fine (even the 2 bottles of vodka made the return intact) and he was the envy of his group with just the 2 small bags (it was a 9 day trip). So yes, it won't always fit every airline, but in the ballistic fabric is it's very tough bag.
But look on the brightside....if you print your boarding pass at home, when you get to SeaTac for your outbound flight you'll be able to walk directly to security and the gate without checking in. When you reach Iceland, and have to change planes, there will be no concern about your baggage making the right connection as you have your bag with you, and in Paris it's off the plane without stopping at baggage claim and customs will be a walk through. (Passport control will have been done in Iceland.)
Originally Posted by markwill
If this is the case, then choosing the Aeronaut was the way to go. While not an issue in this country, most European airlines have a weight limit of 15-18 lbs for the carry-on. The Aeronaut weighs less than the Tri-Star.
Originally Posted by markwill
One other note in case you haven't flow with Icelandair....if you are flying in Economy class, there is no free meal service. Food will be available for sale. If you're flying in the upper classes, there will be a free meal service.
Markwill, I fly easy jet all the time and can confirm that the one bag rule is strictly followed. However the size issue is not as strict as the rules in their website suggest. I just got off an easy jet flight today which was full and no-one was asked to check their bag. Not everyone brings a large carry on so it depends on the passengers as to whether they need to be strict or not.
I also recommend purchasing the additional easyjet speedy boarding. This allows you to get onto the plane first and secure cabin space for the larger dimension limit bag (which your aeronaut will be within, 56x45x25). I always pay this upgrade (about $18 per passenger each way) as I overstuff my Tristar so want to get on first and not risk it being checked. I've never once needed to check.
Hope this helps.
Hi Mark. Just chiming in to tell you that the aeronaut is a brilliant bag. My husband and I each have one, and used these as carry on last fall to Italy. I had the same concerns as you regarding the slightly longer dimensions of the aeronaut, but I was very careful to pack it underweight, and to leave one of the end pockets not stuffed. It was unbelievable what I got in my bag. I had to pack for 2 weeks - 1 week on a bike tour in Tuscany (a different hotel each night), and another week based out of Florence but doing day trips and sometimes overnight trips to Cinque Terra and Venice. Oh, and we had to meet and dine with a very high end client. We brought a small empty rolling bag for gifts to take back and the 2 helmets - they were bulky. I have the packing cube backpack which I used to take out stuff in the plane for the trip like the ipad and a couple of books. I love the packing cubes that have mesh also as we did a lot of hand washing of bike jerseys / clothes and if they were not exactly dry then we could put them in there to dry out and just attached them to the outside of the bag with a carbiner. I bought VOLT dresses from Montreal, Canada - they can be worn backwards and forwards and for biking or for going to visit cathedrals with a scarf. Had an amazing time, and the aeronauts were wonderful - our bags were always neat and tidy and I could find anything quickly. I also packed a dyneema medium cafe bag which I used when I was there with an adjuster so that I could bike with it on my bike if I felt like it. Like someone said before, the ballistic fabric is tough as nails and I had no concern if they decided that I had to check it (which has never happened). All the best, and I hope you and your wife enjoy your trip!
Anya, that sounds like so much fun! When you did your one week bike trip..did you take the Aeronaut? if yes...was it comfy to have as backpack when on the bike?