An Ode to the Badasses Who Defy Airline Luggage Policies

You can defy airline luggage policies by wearing most or even all of your clothes 7 photos
Some passengers will go all the way to avoid paying a luggage feeLee Cimino from Belfast, U.K.Gel Rodriguez from Davao City, the PhilippinesMatt Botten at Gatwick airportRyan Hawaii from the U.K., was not allowed to board a plane with all his clothes on in IcelandJames McElvar from Scottish boyband Rewind
Not all superheroes wear capes. Some of them, the most shameless and badass ones, just wear all their clothes at the same time, just to defy airline luggage policies.
We’ve all been there at least once: you get to the airport and you’re about to board the plane, and the gate agent tells you that your carry-on is heavier or larger than it should be, so you should go back and check it. Or this could happen when you check the luggage and you find it doesn’t fit in with the airline policy.

Whenever it happens, it leaves you scrambling through your stuff, looking for items that you wouldn’t miss too much because you’re about to toss them into the garbage can so as to make the luggage lighter. Or, you know, you could simply put all those clothes on your person.

Such a move takes great cojones but a handful of fearless warriors have done it in recent years. In return, they were rewarded with Internet immortality and, of course, got out of paying the extra luggage fee. To them, we dedicate this ode: the brave, the fearless, the defiant, the budget-conscious, the shameless. 

Gel Rodriguez from Davao City, the Philippines
Photo: Facebook / Gel Rodriguez
Airlines have varying policies regarding luggage but, with all of them, you get one free carry-on, which has to have certain dimensions and weight. If you have heavier baggage, you have to check it before boarding and you will have to pay a fee. There’s also a limit to the number of checked items you can have, so if you were never a light packer, it’s not too late to start now.

Every once in a while, airline companies up the luggage fees, which is when this type of incidents, where passengers board the plane with all of their clothes on, tend to happen. Whether “cheating” the airline is a good or elegant thing to do is not up for discussion here. However, the practice is not strictly forbidden, so you might actually get away with it, if you have the guts to try it.

Expect to get plenty of looks, though. Joey Tribbiani was funny on Friends when he wore all of Chandler’s clothes just to make a point, but real life is not a sitcom and especially not one that ended over a decade ago. People will sit by and judge you, and maybe even laugh at you, or worse. Or you might get into trouble with the airline and not be allowed to board the plane. So be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Matt Botten at Gatwick airport
This happened to Brit Ryan Hawaii in January 2018. He was in Iceland waiting to hop on a British Airways flight back home when he thought he could skip paying for his luggage by wearing all his stuff. He not allowed to board the plane and tried playing the race card as an explanation for the incident, for which he was dragged online as well.

Lee Cimino from Belfast, U.K. and Gel Rodriguez from Davao City, the Philippines were far luckier. Their attempts took place in November 2018 and October 2019, respectively, and were successful: they didn’t want to pay extra to check their too-heavy carry-on, so they removed their clothes and wore them. They also made sure to post about it on social media, with their posts attaining viral status.

It must be unpleasant to sit in an airplane seat, which is not exactly comfortable as is, with all your clothes on. Even if the flight is a short one – say, a couple of hours – you still have to sit down all wrapped up, go through customs and secure areas before you’re able to free your body from all that fabric again. Still, it beats having to pay more, especially if you’re trying to make a statement, like Lee did when Ryanair suddenly started charging passengers more.

So, if you’re feeling particularly defiant against airline companies and specifically shameless, and have worn all your clothes to avoid the luggage fee, this one is for you. Keep fighting the good fight!

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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