My recent trip to Germany was my third time flying Wow Air. As Sara and I have covered before, Wow is economy flying. You pay for the flight and everything else is extra, including seat assignment and water.
Luggage, of course, is no exception. When I flew to Copenhagen and Amsterdam last year, Wow allowed 11 lbs. of luggage within certain dimensions or else it was $48, and the prices increased from there. So I went to Copenhagen and Amsterdam with 11 lbs.
This year when I bought my ticket to Germany, my heart skipped a beat to see they increased the threshold to 22 lbs. I could go crazy. 11 more lbs?! What couldn't I pack?
I even held off packing until the night before, sure it wouldn't be trouble packing 22 lbs. when I always packed 11 lbs. usually. But then I showed up at the airport - and the weight wasn't the problem. Apparently, my new Osprey backpack that my parents bought me for Christmas did not meet their dimension requirements. The thing is, I checked the dimensions before I left, and I knew my bag could fit those dimensions...if I squished it. And I had nothing solid in my bag, so I could squish it. (I prayed my glass case actually protected my glasses.)
The stewardess asked me to demonstrate that my bag could be squished - right in front of everyone else waiting to check in. "Okay," I said, confident in my bag's squishability.
Well, I should have known this wouldn't go well just because, of course it wouldn't.
I squished the bag, and yes, it squished, but the straps hung over.
The stewardess frowned. Tsk tsk.
"It can't spill out," she said.
"Can I try again?"
I put my foot onto the bag and pushed down. And yes, it went down, but the straps budged out further.
"It is $69.99 to carry on a bag and $79.99 to check it," she replied.
$70? I gasped internally. $70 one way? My plane tickets might have been cheap, but I I wasn't trying to make up for it with a bag.
"Can I rearrange it and try again?" I pleaded.
The stewardess shrugged. "Sure. Oh, you're bleeding."
"What... oh my God, I am." My hand was covered in blood. "But I don't know from where."
For a horrified second, I thought I had cut myself from squishing the bag. I think the stewardess thought the same thing. Maybe it couldn't be squished??
Then I realized it was my cuticle. My hands were so dry from winter, my cuticle had decided to Old Faithful on me.
"There's a restroom to the left," the stewardess said with no offer of a Band Aid.
This was Wow Air, I reminded myself.
I marched to the restroom with my bag where I washed my hand and quickly settled into a restroom to rearrange my bag aka wear as many clothes as I could. Of course, the stall door didn't lock, and there was no shelf to clean a baby that I could have used to hold my stuff. I ripped open my bag, took off my shirt, and put on a tank, then put on my original shirt, and then began layering on a long-sleeved shirt, a button-down, a cardigan, and finally my jacket. I slipped off my pants and put some gym shorts over my underwear. I also stuffed some socks into my jacket pockets. I debated what else I could rearrange. I added a scarf around my neck.
Meanwhile, while I'm doing all this, there was a cleaning man in the restroom mopping the floor, and he started mopping under the stall door while I was in in the stall. I pulled my bag away from his mop and finished zipping it.
I also found a Band Aid in my toiletry kit and wrapped my cuticle.
Overheated and beginning to sweat, I emerged from the restroom and marched to the stewardess. My bag slid into the proper dimensions with minimal nudging.
"It will be free," the stewardess said. "Is that your only bag?"
"Yes," I said.
"My, you pack light."
I smiled and wondered if she realized I was wearing five shirts and two pairs of pants.