Judge John Hodgman Episode 47: The Carry On Carryings-On


Keep Calm and Carry on.

Blair and her sister Lisa both travel frequently for business and pleasure (occasionally together). Blair always brings a carry-on instead of checking a bag, since her trips are usually of a shorter duration, perhaps two to three days. She is 5'1" and sometimes needs assistance getting her bag into the overhead bin. A helpful person usually offers their services; if not, Blair is not opposed to asking for help from a fellow passenger.

Lisa feels that if a person does not have the ability to handle their own carry-on bag and get into the compartment without assistance, they have the option of, and should choose to, check their baggage.

So, who is free to carry on and who won't help you move along? Only one man can decide, but be careful!- contents in the overhead bin may have shifted during the flight- on the next Judge John Hodgman!



From Blair
Photos of the carry-on she regularly takes on flights, and a demonstration of her lifting the bag.
The bag is about 21” tall, 14” wide, 8” deep - approximately (FAA regulations 22” tall, 18” wide, 10” deep)


Yakkity Sax

I came to the website in pleasant anticipation of an animated gif scored to Yakkity Sax.

Need I saw how bitterly disappointed I am to discover that Balff Jessie's promises were empty.

I must go hang my head now.

The Intern Appologizes

As the intern I take full responsibility. I have brought great shame upon us.

Here is my humble and late attempt to repair our broken bond.


I blame the airlines

I think (of course) that Judge Hodgman's ruling was sound, and that Lisa was way out of line; but I also think that Judge Hodgman's suggestion (non-binding) to avoid carrying on a bag unless it's absolutely necessary was mistaken.

Even in the tube of cramped misery that is "Economy" air travel, there is generally space for 1 carry-on bag the size of Blair's for almost every passenger. As Judge Hodgman points out, some of the overhead compartments in the back are filled with blankets and life-saving equipment instead - but this is a small deficit percentage-wise, and it should be made up for by the combination of (a) a small number of passengers carrying no bags at all, and (b) that extra closet where the flight attendant will stow bags that there's really no room for.

So the problem isn't one of resources - a flight full of Blairs would have enough carry-on space for all. The problem is those people (who are truly monsters) who consume more than their share of that limited resource. I blame them, of course - but I also blame the person who scanned their tickets and watched as they rolled their human-sized luggage onto the plane, and didn't stop them. I blame the person at the ticket counter, who saw that they were carrying a full-sized refrigerator, but answered, "No" when asked if they were checking luggage.

The airlines could fix this. If, when I'm checking in, they see me carrying a bag that is too large, or too many bags, they can warn me that I'm not going to be able to carry them on. If I disregard the warning, the ticket-scanner can refuse to let me board unless I surrender the extra gear (AND charge me a hefty surcharge for it - the airlines love the surcharge). And if, on the way to my seat in the back, I just stash my bag in a random overhead in the middle of the plane, a flight attendant should be allowed to confiscate my bag mid-flight, and drop it into the ocean, because that's just horrible.

I have no idea why airlines don't enforce their own policies with regard to carry-on luggage and boarding by row or section - fixing these two things would mean faster boardings, which *might* reduce flight delays, and make for a less miserable flight for most passengers. (And as a bonus, the only people whose misery would increase are bad people.)

I respect Judge Hodgman's conscientious objector stance in the war for luggage space - but sadly, the space not taken up by his checked luggage just means that now somebody can cram their *backup* cello into the bin, too.

"No mo snack cawt faw you!"

Re: Evidence Pic 1 - I suspect that Blair has attempted to minimize the apparent size of her carry-on bag through optical trickery. Sitting next to (or in) that armchair, even Mama Cass would appear slim. If you're over 30, make that Nell Carter. In your teens or 20s - Melissa McCarthy. Comedy nerds - John Pinette. Uh, oh. Now I've got to battle the mental image of Blair trying to head-butt John Pinette into the overhead bin.

I almost sent an angry letter

I almost sent an angry letter about the Occupy statement from the previous episode, and then I remembered, Judge John Hodgman tells jokes. I enjoyed the additional 99% digs immensely.

Crisis averted. That was a

Crisis averted. That was a close one.

Bullish on Guillotines

That's it, Hodgeman, you deranged millionaires are on notice! Time to wake up and smell the patchoulli! Time to read (or phonetically puzzle out) the writing on the wall!

Actually, I just want to assure you that the Occupy stereotypes are funny, and clearly in character... not everyone is missing the joke. We know you will have your torch, pitchfork, and mime mask ready with the rest of us when the moment arrives.

- jjsaul