Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Thu March 31 2016

Man Wears All The Clothes He Owns to Beat easyJet Baggage Fee

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | March 31, 2016

Man Wears All The Clothes He Owns to Beat easyJet Baggage Fee

It’s no secret that people dislike the fees that low cost carriers charge for checked baggage (and other things). But what can you do about it? It often comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils: either pay those fees or book a ticket on a full service carrier that doesn’t charge for extras.

A man from Cardiff may have come up with a third option. Matt Botten booked an easyJet flight to Reykjavik, Iceland from London Gatwick. When he arrived at the airport, he found out that the fee to check a bag on that particular flight was £45 (about $65).

When Botten heard about the fee, he unpacked his bag on the spot and proceeded to put all of his clothes on. That included multiple layers of pants, shirts and socks. He even put an extra pair of running shoes in the pocket of his outmost pair of pants.

Botten was proud of his frugal maneuver, which he trumpeted in a Facebook post that included pictures of his layered look: "We’re going to Iceland baby! And how to do it in a financially frugal manner, without having to stump up forty five bloody quid for a hold bag? Simply by wearing EVERYTHING I OWN." 

Unfortunately, Botten put on the clothes while he was at the check-in counter, before Gatwick’s security checkpoints. He was questioned extensively by security about why he had so many layers of clothing on. Security officials eventually let him pass.

A Scottish pop singer named James McElvar tried the same thing as Botten about a year ago. Aghast at the checked baggage levy, he unpacked his bag and put on multiple layers of clothing. He says that he had on as many as 12 layers.

Once on the plane, McElvar became hot, so he removed the extra clothing. Unfortunately, it was too late to avoid problems. He actually fainted from heat exhaustion and had to be treated by a vacationing paramedic who happened to be on the same flight.

So the smart-aleck, wearing-everything-you-own strategy doesn’t always work out for fliers who are willing to try it. However, the idea has inspired several companies to make wearable luggage. The capacity of these stuff-able coats and frocks isn’t the same as a standard suitcase, but it could allow you to opt for a carry-on instead of checking a bag.

It should be noted that easyJet does not charge £45 for all its checked baggage. Fliers can pay as little as £12 if they check their bag online prior to arriving at the airport. Other LCCs have similar deals. And then, of course, there is Southwest, one of the only budget airlines in the world that still does not charge for checked baggage.


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