West Jet and Air Canada are Cramping My Style

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G Schmidt's Home

With the news that West Jet and Air Canada are charging for every checked bag I was faced with the truth: travelling with outfit options is going to cost me. A $25 cost per checked bag per trip, to be specific. I’m not overly concerned with the airlines choice to parcel out that cost. The market will dictate what the tolerance will be. Plus, to me, flying is a privilege. So, I am happy to follow the new rules of travel. It’s real simple: if you don’t want to pay, pack light and carry-on!

Deciding to carry-on or check (and pay) will be a crossroads for me. For a four-plus day trip I tend to travel with a tote with essentials as my carry-on and a medium sized, checked bag full of my outfit goodies. I like to have style options plus room to bring newly acquired finds and souvenirs home. If I keep doing things this way, nothing will change other than the $25 per flight charge in my travel budget. This is a small charge when considered alone but when I add up all my travel in a year with checked bags, usually five round trips, that’s $250. Ugh.

Often an opportunist, I consider my options for that $250 – where else could I put it to use? Most likely, I’d buy more clothes, which is silly that it will cost me extra to take along if I don’t pack everything else lean. Back to my crossroads, I asked myself: could I pack for a longer trip with just carry-on?

If I were to do this, I would have to imagine a trip to make it more real for me. The next trip I have on the radar is a week trip joining friends on their sailboat off the coast of Costa Rica. All things considered, this should be a great time to try to pack very lean.

With no specific events or formal dinners to attend, I considered what I would NEED need. Once there, a couple of day dresses, a few button-down shirts, swimsuits and some shorts? Accessories should be covered with a hat, sunglasses, sandals and slip-on shoes. Throw in a few bangles, funky earrings and a couple necklaces and I’m set, right? Tell that to my escalating heart rate. The thought of repeating a look in a week is not an ideal situation for me. Silly, yes, but it would be hard for me. In an effort to check myself back to reality, I fully acknowledge that I have created all this fuss when I am going on a relaxed, sunshine-filled week with friends. A bit of a disconnect, hey? Another ugh.

Should I go this route, I will be sure to wear as many clothes on the plane to stretch my options further. A jacket with tonnes of pockets is a must and then layer it on. Hat? Check. Jeans? Check. Tank? Check. Light sweater? Check. Oxford shirt? Check. Those jacket pockets doubling as an extra handbag? Check. Whoa. I am reminded of the time Friends character Joey put on all of Chandler’s clothes and exclaimed, “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” Joking aside, when it comes to maximizing what one can bring along free of charge, a gal’s got to do what a gal’s got to do. A step-by-step guide of how to pack light was exhibited earlier this year on Man Repeller’s site. I tell myself over and over, “She makes it look so fun, how bad can it be?” We’ll see.

From now on, I will try and carry-on for the vast majority of airline trips.

Now I’m off to consolidate liquid beauty products to that one-litre bag. After that, I will focus my attention on finding the biggest carry-on that the CATSA will allowThere goes that hypothetical $250!

Thoughts? Do the new airline baggage charges in Canada upset you?