On my last cross-country flight, Delta forced me to check my carry-on bag at the gate. It's not going to happen again.
I had two carry-on bags: a Victorinox Avolve 22 four-wheeled bag plus a Briggs & Riley backpack. A Delta rep at the gate eyed my Victorinox bag, which admittedly was a bit overstuffed, and made me try to squeeze it into the metal frame that approximates the acceptable size of a carry-on. Had Delta shrunk that little frame? It certainly seemed that way, because my bag wouldn't fit into Delta's tight little girdle. FYI, the Avolve 22's dimensions are 14.5 inches x 22 inches x 9.5 inches. Delta's 'size check' girdle measures 14 inches x 22 inches x 9 inches--a total of 1 inch smaller than the Avolve bag.
And so, I had to check the Avolve bag. My only consolation was that I didn't also have to pay $25 for the privilege.
I loathe checking my bags because I detest waiting for them on the carousel. When I arrive, I'm ready to get on my way, chop chop. And so, my experience with Delta had me thinking: How can I beat the airlines at their game?
By buying two new bags, of course.
My new strategy is to carry on two similarly sized bags, instead of one big one and one small one. The two bags I bought were in Briggs & Riley's Baseline collection:
* Wheeled Cabin Bag ($300), which measures 13 inches x 16.8 inches x 9 inches.
* Large Weekender ($135.20 outlet price, chocolate color only), measuring 12 inches x 19.8 inches x 9 inches.
Both bags fit into Delta's corset. Both go in the overhead compartment. The wheeled bag is a bit too big to go under the seat, but the Large Weekender is just fine, as long as you don't overstuff it.
And now, no more forced checking of bags or checked bag fees--until the airlines start charging for carry-ons, that is.