Baggage fees are an unwelcome surprise; the bane of many air travelers’ existence, especially when a few innocent souvenirs push the bag past its weight limit. On a recent flight home to Davao City in the Philippines, Gel Rodriguez found out her bag was almost four pounds over the airline’s carry-on stipulations, so she did what any reasonable traveler would do: she layered on all of her clothes and asked the counter agent to weigh it again. The result went viral, with many travelers both commiserating with her and applauding her solution.
As news of her heroic act spread, with 37,000 likes on her original Facebook post, Rodriguez has been celebrated for beating the airlines at the increasingly frustrating game of bringing one’s possessions on a plane. On her Facebook feed, one airline agent from Pakistan saw the story and warned Rodriguez, “You became so popular in the world, if it was me on duty airport, you’ll not get this opportunity 😀 :P.” Rodriguez replied, “but this comment won’t change the fact that I pulled it off ?.” News outlets from Good Morning America to The Times of India reported on Rodriquez’s impeccable logic. Before and after weights of the bag showed that Rodriguez’s flight attire lightened her bag and weighed her body down by five pounds.
As airlines seek to make a few extra bucks from their passengers, services that used to be gratis now carry big price tags. As a result, a cottage industry has popped up both advising and assisting travelers in their efforts to economize their packing. (Carry-on packing tutorials number more than 100,000 on YouTube.) In 2017, one New Zealand couple even tried to launch The Airport Jacket on Kickstarter. The product promised to hold up to 15 kilos/30 pounds of additional luggage, including a laptop pouch. Though their bid did not receive enough funding to bring the project to fruition, more than 100 backers loved the idea and the prototype garnered international attention.
Rodriguez’s bag was weighed down not only with some extras she’d accumulated on her travels, but with a pair of wet pants that ended up being the heaviest element in her haul. She had to put the wet pants back on as part of her layered collection, and reported being grateful that her flight was delayed so she could dry them out. Though Rodriguez declined to identify the airline, it’s safe to say her plight was universal, which accounts for how quickly her post made it around the world.
Could I BE Wearing Any More Clothes?
If Rodriguez’s look is familiar, it’s because her couture and pose resemble a famous Friends episode, “The One Where No One’s Ready,” when Joey enacts revenge on Chandler by wearing all of his clothes. The look has been recreated for many Halloweens past, and even by high-fashion house Balenciaga. In 2018, the Internet gave a collective side eye to the design team that put forward a very familiar looking seven-layer parka with a $9,000 price tag.
While Rodriguez enjoys the accolades for her triumph, regular Joeys and Janes are taking inspiration for their own travels. Perhaps Rodriguez has started a new trend in multi-layered flight looks. At the very least, she saved herself some cash and made fellow fliers smile. In a recent Facebook post, Rodriguez collected the news clips on her famous flight and remarked, “For once in my life, I have experienced the feeling to be published in the news, worldwide. ? Thank you for featuring me!” She added a p.s. in her native Tagalog, “now it’s time for more milktea. ?”
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