I can’t remember when they brought in the One Bag Rule in UK airports, but it was in response to some terrorist incident. It is always difficult to work out the rational that airport security uses these days, but I think this is to make the security lines move faster.
The first time we had to deal with this was last summer, flying through Gatwick to Geneva. At that time, if you were connecting in any UK airport, you were allowed only one carryon bag. If you flew to the UK and did not connect to another flight, you could have the normal two bags, but could only have one bag when returning via the UK airport.
I am a disorganized mess when I fly. Anyone looking at me would assume it was my first international flight because I obviously don’t know what I am doing. I get on the plane with computer equipment, piles of books and magazine, iPods, DVDs, a knitting project (heaven forbid that I be bored for one minute!), extra sweaters (what if I get cold?), a change of clothes (our luggage gets delayed one time in three when flying to Europe), a packed lunch in case they forget our vegetarian meals, and usually a work project that I am convinced I will do on the flight (I never do). Since December 2006, when those planes were kept on the runways for 8 – 10 hours and passangers had no food or water, I also carry a big bottle of water (purchased in the airport) and enough Granola bars to feed a large family.
Last summer I was prepared for the one bag rule, but it was pretty chaotic in the early morning at Gatwick, totally daze and jetlagged, trying to put everything into the one bag. Turns out you can have food items in a separate bag!
Coming home on that trip I had my wheeled carryon that fit within the required guidelines, but I had stuffed it full. They pulled me out of the security line and made me prove it would fit in that metal box thing that measures the bag. I thought “no problem – of course it will fit”, but it didn’t. They told me to take stuff out. What is the point of that I thought, but I took out a sweater and some of the magazines, then crammed that case into the metal holder, wrenching my back in the process, and it fit. And they let me go.
We fly out of Gatwick on Tuesday. Most other airports in the UK have removed the One Bag Rule, but not Gatwick.
From Gatwick Hand Baggage – One Bag Rule:
Hand baggage – one bag rule
Currently each passenger may take only ONE item of hand baggage through security control.
Cabin baggage must be no larger than:
56cm (22in) tall – 45cm (17.7in) wide – 25cm (10in) deep
Passengers arriving into Gatwick and connecting through Gatwick may travel with more than one piece of hand luggage (subject to the airline’s permission).
My suitcase fits in these requirements and this time I will be sure to not stuff it. (Briggs & Riley Transcend 20″ Carry-On, Size including wheels: 21″ x 14″ x 8.5″, Linear inches: 42.5″.) And I will measure it. Luckily I brought three tape measures with me on this trip (why? I have no idea, they all ended up in my knitting bag).
But I look around the cottage at all our stuff and wonder how I am going to get it back into the suitcases. I have not bought much here – just a few books, a bottle of Italian olive oil that Valerie and Bryan brought for us, a few maps. It should all fit.
Packing is the part of travel that I hate.