Smart Consumer: Tired of baggage charges? Wear your luggage instead!
'I did feel a little foolish and looked like something out of Little Britain. People were laughing but the smiles soon went off their faces as they realised I was saving so much money."
Bob Flavin is commenting on his experience at the Ryanair boarding gate on route to the UK a few weeks ago. He looked like the Michelin man but he was saving €40 on checked-in luggage. That's because he was wearing his luggage instead.
You've heard of poacher jackets with a load of pockets, and travel vests to help you pack more and cheat the baggage charges, but this is a new twist.
Designed by Irish engineer John Power, the JakToGo is a bag that turns into a jacket. It can hold up to 10-15kg in weight, comes in a dress or jacket style and can be custom made.
Bob Flavin, a motor journalist at thenextgear.com, travels a lot and usually has camera equipment with him. This tends to put him above the cabin bag allowance and he was keen to see if he could carry the additional weight by literally wearing it.
Going through the airport Bob had the bag on top of his wheelie cabin bag. On arrival at the boarding gate, a Ryanair staff member told him he'd have to put his second bag in the hold for €40.
At which Bob said, "actually that's my jacket". "Well put it on you then", she said, and so he did.
Bob was able to walk on to the flight, with a full wallet and a business man running after him to ask where he got it. Once on board he took the bag/jacket off and stowed it, although he says it was too difficult to fold back properly into a bag in the cramped confines of the cabin.
"The great thing is that I was able to buy things in the UK and bring them back in my bag/jacket without worrying if I would have to pay extra", he says. "I'm going to bring my laptop as well as my iPad when I travel to Germany and Portugal next week. It's not fashionable but it does what it is supposed to do; cheat the airlines."
What you need to know about carry-on luggage
•Your one piece of hand luggage must be no bigger than 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. With Ryanair the rule is strictly one piece only. With Aer Lingus you are allowed a handbag or laptop as well.
•If your bag is soft, it could expand beyond these accepted dimensions and won't fit into the airline's luggage sizer, so take that into account.
•Check the weight before you fly. You are allowed 10kg only with both Ryanair and Aer Lingus.
•It costs €40 with Ryanair and Aer Lingus if you have to put the too big or too heavy a bag in the hold.
The JakToGo is available at www.jaktogo.com for €59.95.