le tasting room

Loire wine tours, tastings, day trips from Paris & short breaks organised by experienced English wine trade professionals.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Does your bag fit?

Yesterday while dropping family off at Tours airport for a flight back to the UK, we stood chatting in the line, waiting to go through security. Practically everyone had opted to take 'hand luggage' rather than check-in a bag (no doubt due to the extra costs involved).

Ryanair has become very fierce of late. Each traveller is required not only to weigh their bag but to place it in the frame provided in order to verify that the permitted dimensions have not been exceeded.

This is where both a new competitiveness and a camaraderie emerges. Conversations between travellers strike up as they discuss whether or not the bag in front will or won't fit in the cage. And what's more, in a perverse way - you actually WANT their bag to fail, you are WILLING it to be too heavy, too bulky.

When someone's bag is refused and they are sent away with their tail between their legs to pay the hefty fine of 35 Euros to check it in - comments are passed between travellers - 'they should've weighed it before they left home', 'how ridiculous trying to take that one through', 'everyone knows the rules'.

To add insult to injury, when our time comes and our bag passes the test - we feel SMUG, yes smug that we were so canny, so organised. We got away with it, we wouldn't be so stupid would we?

When returning from a UK trip in October, we were caught out ourselves - not going through security but at the boarding gate at Stansted. A rather militant air stewardess was clearly taking great pleasure in asking everyone to post their hand luggage into the cage. Elegant ladies were stuffing their handbags, duty free purchases and umbrellas into their one permitted piece of luggage. We had a large squashy bag which was never going to make it. No problem though, a newly created payment desk had appeared just by the boarding gate to make our lives easy!

And so we paid up, muttering under our breaths that we should have checked at least one bag in beforehand. We won't make that mistake again - we'll just take even more pleasure in watching other people being turned back and feel even more smug that we got it right!


  1. we experienced the overzealous check in on one of our trips last year. It made the plane really late for take off! I have to say that there were a number of people trying to convince staff that they only had one bag when they had an enormous handbag and another carrier bag stuffed full as well as a carry on! However there were many where just the wheels were outside the zone and they were duly charged for check in!

    We of course had the right size and weight once C moved his 7kg of camera stuff to check in bags!

  2. We fooled them! Take one of those French supermarket bags with you and put everything in there at the airport. Most fit in that darned cage, the bags are light weight and not very elegant, but all you need to just to get past the gate.

  3. That's a good tip Jean - one for the future! Dear old Ryanair - continues to amuse and frustrate - we'd all be lost without these cheap flights though.