How to Avoid Checking Your Bag on a Plane

Annoyed with check bag fees every time you travel and want to find a way to skip checking your bag? Or are you tired of trying to jockey for position in the overhead bin for your bag? You don’t have to be a slave to baggage check rules if you know a few easy ways around the process.


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    Board early. There are a few sneaky and somewhat dubious ways around the insanity to find an overhead bin. While these tricks may work sometimes, making it a habit, especially if you fly a certain route on a regular basis could help you earn the award as “annoying passenger.”
    • Request early boarding or a seat in the first few rows. This is one of the most honest ways to get on the plane the quickest.
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    • Use the kids as leverage. Even if you know your 5 year-old will board like a pro, take advantage of the “traveling with small children” call for early boarding. This is one time where having junior with you will help.
    • Fake an injury. If you’ve hurt your leg in the past and own one of those walking boots, strap it on and limp your way to early boarding.
    • Line up early. While you are most likely supposed to line up with your boarding group, you can get in line behind the previous group and act as though you got confused with regard to which group was being called. Fifty-fifty chance you’ll get ushered through to the plane or asked to move aside.
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    Use a space saver bag to reduce the girth of your clothing. You can possibly fit a full suitcase of clothing in a carry-on bag by simply compressing your items into neat, thin piles. Load the space saver with your clothing and use your vacuum to extract air. Fold in half and place in bag.
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    Mind your manners. If you arrive at the gate with a bag that clearly should have been checked you will be asked to check it. Instead of acting annoyed and angry at the notion, sweet talk the flight attendant into seeing if you can fit your bag underneath the seat or in the overhead bin first. Let the flight attendant know if you can’t find an appropriate/safe spot you’ll bring it back to be checked.
    • Be courteous to other passengers. Instead of rearranging bags at will, make sure you ask passengers if you could slide their bag down in order to make room for yours.


  • Get a grip--if you have to check your bag it is most likely not going to be the end of the world. Take a deep breath and just surrender.
  • Don’t forget that you still cannot get through security with large bottles of liquid, razors, scissors or other banned items so your toiletries may need to be purchased at your destination.


  • Never attempt any maneuver that would be considered to be illegal as you could end up in hot federal water as a result.

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Categories: Air Travel