Wacky anti-theft suitcase + Las Vegas treats

Wacky way to keep luggage safe

It’s no fun having a bag get lost or stolen during a journey.

Today we have digital trackers to help keep track of suitcases. But back in the early 1960s, one smart inventor created a wacky way to make sure a bag wouldn’t get stolen.

Good reasons to go to Las Vegas

The storms that caused flash flooding in Las Vegas have moved on, making way for the return of high (100+ degrees) temperatures and lots of sun.

Good thing. There are lots of reasons to go to Las Vegas and, soon, there’ll be one more.

Between September 5 and October 26, fans of the late actress and singer Debbie Reynolds (“Singin’ in the Rain,” “Unsinkable Molly Brown” and many others) can visit an exhibition titled “The Persona, The Person: Debbie Reynolds in Las Vegas.

The free exhibit is put together by Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, the Debbie Reynolds Estate, and The Neon Museum and features everything from handmade gowns and costumes to personal effects from the time Reynolds and her family lived and performed in Las Vegas. This photo of Reynolds and Liberace is also included in the show.

The exhibit is the headline experience in The Neon Museum’s second annual Duck Duck Shed, a citywide cultural, design, and entertainment festival that takes place October 4-7 and celebrates the allure of Las Vegas’ past and present with behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive exhibitions, and thought-provoking discussions.

Will your bag fit? Maybe. Maybe not.

This chart greets travelers at boarding gates for international flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

No doubt, there’s something that looks like this at your airport too.

The chart lists the maximum dimensions – including handles and wheels – of the under-seat and carry-on bags for each airline that flies out of this airport.

And the chart is so busy because the maximum measurement for each airline can be a wee bit different.

Fly on Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, or Virgin Atlantic, and the carry-on bag limit is 22 inches X 14″ inches by 9 inches. Board a Finnair, Lufthansa, or Turkish Airline flight and, according to this chart, your bag must not exceed 22 inches X 16 inches X 9 inches.

What happens if your bag exceeds the maximum size dimensions allowed by your airline?

Often nothing.

But if gate agents for what is sure to be a full flight start measuring bags, or when push comes to shove when there’s no more room in the overhead bins for everyone’s bag, the suitcase that’s an inch or two over the official measurement will likely be the one that gate agents declare needs to be checked.

Often at the passenger’s expense.

Avoid being ‘that person’ by checking your airline’s size restrictions for carry-on bags and measuring yours before you leave home. If your bag just meets the guidelines or, better yet, is a wee bit smaller, jot down your measurements in case you’re challenged.

Tucking a tiny retractable or foldable cloth ruler in your pocket wouldn’t hurt either.

And while you’re at it. Check to see if there are weight restrictions for carry-on bags too.

Have you had a carry-on bag rejected because it was a wee too big? Tell us the story.

(Installation by artist Joel Ross – Room 28)

How about a 2-inch suitcase?

Would you travel with a flat suitcase? We would.

In March 2020, just days before the world closed down due to the pandemic, our baggage and accessories reporter spent two days at the Travel Goods Show, a for-the-industry event held that year in New Orleans.

In an exhibition hall filled with travel gadgets and suitcases of all shapes, sizes, and prices, the Rollink collapsible suitcase stood out for its ingenuity and convertibility. And its cuteness.

The suitcase is made with hybrid polycarbonate hard shells and fabric that allows the bag to fold down to just 2 inches when not in use. That made it seem perfect for storage between trips, in a cruise cabin, or when staying in one of those teeny-tiny boutique hotel rooms that are so common these days.

We weren’t the only ones charmed by the Rollink.

At the Travel Goods Show, the Rollink received the “Innovation Award” for best new luggage as well as the overall “Buzz Award,” which is awarded to the most attention-getting item in the new products section of the show. 

Of course, the pandemic meant we had no need for suitcases of any size for a while. But that super slim suitcase stuck in our minds.

Now that we’re ready to get back on the road, we’re pleased to see that the Rollink has made its U.S. debut, in partnership with Macy’s. It comes in three sizes, including cabin and cabin plus, both of which are a TSA standard sized carry-on suitcases. There’s also a medium-sized Rollink that should be checked. Prices start at $155.

Cute, right?

Airport Amenities We Love: Coat Check Service

Here’s a great airport amenity we’re glad is back.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) is once again offering its popular coat check service.

The service is back for the third winter season and means passengers setting out from MKE for warm weather destinations don’t have to lug their bulky winter jackets, scarves, and gloves with them on the plane.

They can instead check these items inside Summerfest Marketplace, which is located pre-security and open 7 days a week, and available for all flights.

The cost to check a coat is a reasonable $2 per day, with a maximum charge of $10 per trip.

Great idea! Maybe other airports will begin offering this service as well.

Yes, Southwest Airlines will check your pool noodle.

The world – and a young woman named Sydney Fowls – now knows that Southwest Airlines stands by its promise to allow passengers to check two bags for free.

Even if one of those bags happens to be a pool noodle.

Fowles recently traveled from Ohio to Tampa for a vacation. And, budgets being tight, she decided to bring her own foam pool noodle along.

Rather than bring the pool noodle on the plane and try to put it in the overhead bin, Fowls decided to check the pool noodle as her second free ‘bag.’ To her delight, and now ours, no one at Southwest Airlines said no to checked noodle.

The noodle was tagged and sent out to be loaded onto the plane.

The modern world being what it is, Fowles documented the noodles journey on Tik Tok. She even caught the bemused reaction of the bag handlers who were tasked with loading the noodle onto the plane.


My pool noodle traveled from Ohio —-> Florida

♬ Vacation – Dirty Heads

The internet loved Fowls’ first pool noodle Tik Tok. To the tune of 11 million views (so far).

Did the noodle make it to Tampa?

Spoiler alert: Yes it did. Did the noodle make it back home to Ohio? Yes it did.

Did Southwest Airlines join in the fun? Yes they did.

When Fowls returned from her trip, there was a pool noodle performance waiting for her.

There was a bag carousel filled with pool noodles.

Fowls got a photo op with the bag handlers who were featured in her first Tik Tok post.

And she got her own Southwest Airlines-branded pool noodle.


My pool noodle made it back home to Ohio! Thank you Southwest Airlines for everything you did for me! @flysouthwest @junebug2433 #viral

♬ SexyBack (feat. Timbaland) – Justin Timberlake