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Mo Casas
Mo Casas
Modesto Casas, has 28 years of worldwide market successes. He is multi-lingual and multi-cultural having lived in six countries. Mo has taken several start-ups to international regions and developed them into compelling local enterprises. His company, In Region, takes high technology companies … More »

Going to DAC, I protect myself against airway robbery

May 12th, 2010 by Mo Casas

DAC veterans will remember the year 1995 when View Logic gave away baseball bats at DAC. Imagine the scandal when an airline captain refused to let one of our salespeople take his bat on the plane! Today the scandal is luggage charges and those of us traveling to DAC this year are going to be prime targets of this not-so-gentle nickel and dime maneuver. Unless you fit everything you need in a carry-on bag.

A properly packed carry-on can fit all that I needed for a life time! No reversing inner garment jokes please. If I can carry enough clothes to make it to the weekend, there is time for laundry, so I dare say I can live from a carry-on forever. I have made a 4 week world tour from a carry on and had room to bring back a few gifts, but no baseball bats.

Let’s start with our friends at the airlines and their faithful assistant the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). When you carry on you have to know the rules. Most airlines define a carry on as a bag with total dimensions (height + width + depth) of 45 to 51 inches. Each airline has slightly different rules, so it pays to check. A good list of acceptable dimensions, by airline, can be found at A computer bag or a briefcase is allowed on as long as it can go under the seat in front of you. TSA sets specific rules for what you CANNOT carry on at Also check the 3-1-1 rule on the size of liquids that can be carried on  Even if you think you know, check the rules for two reasons: 1. The rules do change and 2. You can always get a laugh thinking that someone needs to be reminded that dynamite is forbidden in your carry-on. Tourists!

I carry a 45 inch total dimension bag in case the gate agent is in a bad mood that day. I keep it neat with no external straps, souvenir stickers, not even a visible name tag. My bag screams “I belong in the overhead compartment”. I carry a large brief case without a shoulder strap, same neatness rules as the carry-on. No magazines coming out of its external pocket and even when it bulges a bit everything is inside. This one says “under the seat for me”.

Getting the bag on the airplane may be a great personal victory, but it is even more important to pack what you need. For DAC, I start with undergarments and socks one per day, two suit pants and one extra pair of pants, seven dress shirts and three ties. No room for running shoes, athletic socks, or exercise gear on a seven day trip and forget your pillow, electric shaver, hair dryer or Hawaiian shirts. A small one quart (1 liter) plastic freezer bag borrowed from the kitchen is the best way to pack your toiletries. For my toiletries, if it doesn’t fit in the freezer bag, it doesn’t go.

If you are following these directions like a recipe, you now have all the ingredients on top of a bed or other flat surface and a nut-shell of a bag on the other side. So here is the ultimate secret that ties it all together: Roll Packing. The best roll packer’s user manual that I have found is at Click on the diagram and follow the step by step directions. You will be amazed!

I wear a pair of jeans or comfortable pants and one of my suit jackets on the airplane. I unpack immediately after arrival and sometimes have to do a little ironing while watching the evening news, but no worse than I had to do with my large garment bag.

In my briefcase, I carry a computer, its cable and a phone charger. I still carry a paper notebook, although I hardly ever use it and I feel more comfortable with my travel schedule on paper (a sign of age, I’m sure). I travel to many countries, so I also pack destination specific freezer bags where I keep money, maps, train schedules and electrical adapters for each destination. Each freezer bag has enough local money to pay for my trip from the Airport to the usual hotels, a few local metro tickets or travel cards.

For DAC, a freezer bag with a few Green-Backs (USD) and an international adaptor will do the trick. Unfortunately, there is little need for public transportation maps in Southern California, so bring extra money for taxis, or ride the Supershuttle to the hotel. Both of these sites explain the rates and enable on-line reservations out of Los Angeles or Orange County Airports.

So this year, Roll-pack a carry-on to DAC 2010, say goodbye to airline bag fees, waiting for your bags to arrive (if…), or storing bags at the valet on the last day of the show. I’ll see you there, maybe a little wrinkled, but happy to have protected myself against airway robbery.

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