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Planning to board a flight during the upcoming holiday season? Here are timely luggage etiquette tips to show off your most courteous self.

I was honored to be interviewed and quoted in this Washington Post article on luggage etiquette.  You’ll learn how NOT to raise the blood pressure of your fellow passengers as you stow your carry-on items in the overhead bin or move down the aisle with a bulging backpack.

Read the article below:

By Christopher Elliott – The Washington Post

It’s the season of the squeeze.

That should require absolutely no explanation, but just in case: Picture thousands of stressed-out holiday travelers in airport terminals, train stations and bus terminals, bundled up in winter clothing, all piling into a claustrophobia-inducing cattle-class cabin.

With luggage

Is your blood pressure rising yet? Mine, too.

“The worst offenders are people who abuse the carry-on luggage limit and take up more space than they are supposed to get,” says Raymond Lee, a finance director for a consumer goods company in New York and a frequent traveler. “They are also the ones who will put their luggage sideways and take up more space for no reason other than they just don’t care to do it right.”

But don’t take his word for it. Simply board a flight, grab a seat and watch. Chances are, you’ll see a fellow passenger try to wedge a too-large carry-on into an overhead bin, or a thoughtless passenger with a backpack whacking another traveler, or two people bickering over the space under their seats. It’s chaos.

What better time to brush up on your luggage etiquette and learn a defensive maneuver or two?

It starts with what you bring. “Consumers are looking for the most possible space and lightest-weight case possible,” says Scott Niekelski, a direct import manager at the National Luggage Dealers Association, a luggage distributor.

That may be the wrong impulse. When it comes to proper luggage etiquette — less is more. The most experienced passengers travel light. Some don’t bring any luggage.

“I ship my gear ahead to my destination, especially if I plan to be in one place for an extended period,” says Brian Teeter, the Irvine, Calif., author of the “Healthy Trekking Travel Guides” series. “That way, I can travel light and have my main luggage waiting when I arrive.”

Having no luggage is probably the only way to ensure you’ll never fight about it. But let’s be realistic: Most of us travel with at least a backpack, purse or some other kind of carry-on.

On planes, carry-on luggage is a never-ending irritant. Airlines are partly to blame since checked luggage fees incentivize passengers to carry most of their belongings with them. Protocol experts say the key to avoiding scraps over luggage is packing light and moving fast. Downsize to a smaller carry-on, like a 22-inch rollaboard or a backpack, and place it in the bin above your seat — not someone else’s (that’s called bin-hogging, and it will almost certainly annoy the passengers below).

Speed matters. Don’t overstuff your bag to the point where you have to wrestle it into the compartment. “Stow carry-on luggage quickly in the overhead bin so other passengers may pass in the aisle,” says Rachel Wagner, a corporate etiquette consultant in Tulsa. “If you need extra time to stow it, step into the seat area for a moment so others may pass by, then step back into the aisle when there’s a short break in the aisle.”

No one likes a blocker, and that’s true at the luggage carousel, as well. Consider the mad dash for the best position….