No fees for your luggage!

Remember the good old days when the airlines didn’t charge you extra for your luggage?  It’s gotten so bad that some heavily discounted airlines even charge you for your carry-on bag.  Well, if you have your own plane (or flying car), you don’t have to deal with this “attack of the fees”.

Every small aircraft has a maximum weight that the pilot will be careful not to exceed. In a two-seater like the Switchblade, this would be the weight of the pilot and passenger, added to the vehicle weight, fuel weight (5.7 pounds per gallon), and luggage.  By way of example, in this flying sports car, you could travel with two 190 lb. people, plenty of fuel, and 50 lbs. of luggage.  For many people, this will mean a whole new operating basis. Clearly, checking a 49 lb. suitcase, carrying on a 25 lb. roller bag plus a 10 lb. “personal item”, is not going to fly. (pardon the pun)

I used to have the reputation of being the Heavy Suitcase Queen. Not any more.  It’s actually more fun (and easier on my back) to travel light – with a small (lightweight) overnight bag and a big canvas bag with whatever else I need.  And hey, I can bring as many water bottles and any kind of food I want – nothing will be confiscated!  For a day trip or a weekend trip, it’s no problem to travel this light.  And a golfer can stash a set of clubs behind the seats, and go off for a day of fun.

Of course, I still fly commercially when I go coast to coast, as the big guys can get me from California to New York in under 5 1/2 hours, non-stop. Those are usually longer trips anyway (gone for a week or more) so I just bring that bigger checked bag and pay the extra $25.  And I am happy to say that I no longer stress out at the baggage counter, anxiously watching the lbs on the scale when I put my suitcase on it. It is never over 50 lbs. and actually is seldom over 40 lbs.  I owe that new ability to traveling in a small plane where I have learned to pack more lightly.

So, if you want to travel where you want, when you want (and with the free luggage you want), do what you have always dreamed of – learn to fly!

–  Virginia Hall

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