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Thread: Western Flyer as personal item

  1. #1
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    Western Flyer as personal item

    I'm planning on taking my Aeronaut as my carry on bag, and I'm thinking of getting a Western Flyer to use as my personal bag/briefcase, but was wondering if anyone had encountered any problems with airlines claiming the W.F. is too large to be considered a personal bag. And/or maybe it depends on how full one fills their W.F. Any thoughts or experiences with this would be appreciated. Maybe it just looks borderline large in some of the photos, but I'm just wondering if I'll be pushing the limit of the ever-changing airline rules. Thanks much.
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    I just carried on a suitcase and an Ego. No one gave me a second look. I don't think the WF is bigger than the Ego in over all size, but I could be wrong.
    Proud owner of; Ego (first run) in Black/Steel/Deep Blue; medium organizer pouches in cayenne and crimson; small organizer pouches in olive, pink and storm blue; mini organizer pouch in sapphire; quarter packing cube; ego strips in crimson, plum, blue glitter and sapphire.

  3. #3
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    Western Flyer

    I've used a Western Flyer on United once a month domestically since it came out. It's pretty loaded, including with a MacBook in a Brain Cell. I've been pleased that it always fits under the seat, even when there's one of those metal boxes for video on the aisle seats. It's a great choice for that application in my opinion, because everything zips up so there's no chance of having things fall out when repetitively stowing it and taking it out.
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  4. #4
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    Aeronaut plus a Western Flyer. Hmm.

    I think this is going to come down to what airline you're flying and your elite status. If you're an occasional flyer with no elite mileage to your credit, you may have trouble on American/United/USAir. They are going to get nasty over the first-bag fee if everyone tries to get around it with a larger second carry-on bag.

    If you're one of the last on board you will run a higher chance of getting the Aeronaut gate-checked. If you are flying on a super-cheap fare, the same. Full-fare flyers and those with the platinum elite cards (or similar) will be the last to get bags taken away by the gate agents.

    So, my suggestions: GET THERE EARLY. If you're boarding at the tail end of the call, the bins will already be full, and that's when the attendants onboard look for involuntary gate-checks. Also, don't pick a flight that's always oversold. Those flights are cash cows for airlines charging the new baggage fees. It's supposed to be free if the airline chooses to gate-check your bag after you're onboard. I'll bet it won't stay that way. If people want to stay on that flight they'll pay the $15 once the bins are full. You won't have a chance to stow 2 bags, even if one's under the seat. Use Seatguru religiously - if your seat has an obstruction, you won't even be able to stow a bag in front of you! You can bet an attendant won't help you find a place for it, just do what the airline instructs and take it away. You think you just won't pay the bill? Well, chances are the airline already has your credit card number. They'll just add the charge (there's some fine print in the Conditions of Carriage which allows it). From what I've heard, contesting that charge with card issuers isn't favoring the card holder!

    Try to stay with airlines not charging the first-bag fee. Or pony up for First Class or a luggage service, and avoid carrying it with you at all. You can bet First isn't being hassled as much as the self-loading freight in Coach!

    Get the really essential stuff in the WF; if the worst happens at least you have the 'no coverage if lost' stuff with you. If you're really paranoid about your stuff, get excess-valuation insurance from your airline, or make sure you pay for your ticket with a credit card offering baggage insurance (Amex, for one).

    Last but not least, see if there's any way you can get down to one bag. You may have to work at this one, but your shoulders and back will thank you!
    eWalker likes this.
    Indigo Co-Pilot w' Cache, Sapphire/Olive Medium Cafe bag, Sapphire/Black and Indigo Ballistic Swifts, 50+ assorted Stuff Sacks/Pouches/Key Straps, 4 Shop Bags. 2 Absolutes, 2 Strap Wraps, a #5 Brain Cell, 3 Clear Quarter Packing Cubes , 3 Aeronaut cubes, a 3D, a Kit, a Convertible Shoulder Bag and Convertible Backpack for my Indigo/Solar Aeronaut. Last, 3 Lifefactory Bottles and my Plum Field Journal! Plus a blue (natch) FOT. All bags decked out with Tom Bihn luggage tags .

  5. #5
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Lots of great advice in this thread. I recently flew with a Western Flyer and an Aeronaut as my carry-ons (Alaska Air) and had no problems.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    Registered User lpotr4's Avatar
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    Travelled with the Aeronaut/Western Flyer combo as well as the Aeronaut/Super Ego with no problems at all. Both flying out of Vegas to LAX and back via Southwest Airlines. And this was with no reserved seating -- first come first serve.
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    United and carry-on

    All of my travel is on United and I've carried on my Aeronaut with my Western Flier as under-seat piece with no problems. The Aeronaut is so slender and compressible that it's pretty easy to find space for it. On shorter trips I put a Smart Alec in the overhead and there's always space for that. All these bags look small, I think because they don't have a rigid frame, so they don't seem to trigger a pained look from the flight attendants.

    The seat you choose on United makes a difference. After first class and other super-frequent fliers board, "premiers" have tickets stamped seating area 1 and they are the first folks allowed into the economy/steerage cabin. Assuming you're not in that group, you want to have selected a window seat, because they go on next, followed by those on the aisle. Obviously with each successive group the available overhead space decreases.

    Hope this is helpful.
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    Thanks for the input

    Thanks to all for the input and insight. As strange as it sounds, I'm actually thinking about exchanging the Western Flyer for a different color so that they don't look like the same bag (my aeronaut and western flyer are both the flaming red color). Maybe the W.F. in the silver would make it look more like a computer bag (which is basically how I intend to use it). That's perhaps a bit compulsive and "over thinking" of this whole thing, but a smooth airline experience is a happy airline experience (if you don't include no leg room or stale peanuts). Anyway, I appreciate everyone's input.

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    At least you get peanuts!! The airline I have to fly most (USAir) doesn't even do that anymore!! and will start charging for ALL beverages (including water - $2) soon. Plus.. they just got rid of their in-flight video system to save weight!!!

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    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabergnc View Post
    At least you get peanuts!! The airline I have to fly most (USAir) doesn't even do that anymore!! and will start charging for ALL beverages (including water - $2) soon. Plus.. they just got rid of their in-flight video system to save weight!!!
    The in-flight video system I don't care about so much, but don't try to charge me for my Splash "Orange Drink" on ice! hehe.

    So basically you'll be forced to buy water from the time you go through security until the time you land at your destination? Unless you bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it at a drinking fountain?
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

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    That's about the size of it unless things change in the next several days. I think the charges begin on August 1. It's not clear if the bottles to be sold will be the little 8 oz ones they used to give or a larger size. I started bringing an empty bottle on my last trip a couple of weeks ago to begin to get into the habit. Fortunately, the Buzz (my current favorite travel bag for my Macbook) has that bottle pouch which works really nicely. (I really gotta look at moving to place that has airlines other than USAir and Delta.)
    Last edited by rabergnc; 07-22-2008 at 01:59 PM. Reason: typos, always typos....

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    I always put my Aeronaut in the overhead bin, and my "personal item" has been (at different times) a Super Ego, a Brain Bag, and a Smart Alec -- all fully packed with a laptop, camera gear, and more. While I have seriously cut into my own foot room, I have never had a problem with flight attendants or other passengers.

    It may help that I prefer window seats -- flight attendants can't see your feet as well, and other passengers find you easier to ignore when you're not between them and the aisle.

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    Ok, I'm confused. I'm not much of a traveler and am flying in August to the East Coast. I'm on an aisle seat in the cheapest section. My plan was to just use the aeronaut as my only bag and carry it on with me.
    It sounds like there's a possibility that, if the plane is too full, I will have to check it. If that's the case, I may just check it to begin with- the others I'm going with are all taking a couple of bags and checking them.

  14. #14
    Registered User peregrina's Avatar
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    mrae,

    If all you are bringing is the aeronaut, I can't see why would you have to check it. As long as you keep within weight limits, you shouldn't have a problem. The discussion here was on the feasibility of having the Western Flier as a second carry-on bag in addition to the Aeronaut.
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrae View Post
    Ok, I'm confused. I'm not much of a traveler and am flying in August to the East Coast. I'm on an aisle seat in the cheapest section. My plan was to just use the aeronaut as my only bag and carry it on with me. It sounds like there's a possibility that, if the plane is too full, I will have to check it. If that's the case, I may just check it to begin with- the others I'm going with are all taking a couple of bags and checking them.
    I am often one of the last people to board a plane, and in recent months, I have never had a problem finding space for my Aeronaut. It's much smaller and more malleable than most of the bags in the overhead bins, and fits in places other bags won't.

    Unless the plane is really running late, flight attendants will try to find space in an overhead bin somewhere on the plane, and like I said, the Aeronaut fits where a lot of other bags won't. (Though in my experience, flying a variety of airlines about 5-6 times a month, I've always been able to put it in a bin right above or across from my seat.)

    And I love those side handles for pulling it back out! Other passengers struggle to get their bags out safely; for me it's a smooth one-handed maneuver. :-)

    If your only bag is an Aeronaut, I would be *shocked* if you ever had to check it at the gate, unless there was an unusual group of passengers on board eating up all the space.

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