Taking Stock -June 22, 2015

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It may come as a shock to some but over the last few days I’ve been abroad.

That’s not bragging.

In truth I spent less on my recent mini-break than one colleague (who shall remain nameless) spent on a single pair of salmon pink swimming shorts.

Admittedly, to keep the price below that of the offending beach wear, I did spend Saturday night sleeping on a bench outside the British Airways check in at Gatwick – until a member of staff spotted my orange boarding card and moved me on to join the riff-raff.

But I’ve had a jolly pleasant few days away for about the same as some folk are spending on their monthly mobile phone bill.

It really is amazing how far you can fly these days for so little.

I’ve never really joined the low cost revolution.

And it left me slightly shocked - not about the quality of service but simply by the amount of luggage some people seem to think they need.

I’m a great believer in travelling light - cramming three days worth of clothing, footwear and essentials (including a couple of chunky novels) into one small backpack.

I checked, nervously, that it would be allowed onboard – using the handy size guide in the near-deserted terminal.

I shouldn’t have bothered. It looked lost in the overhead bin next to two suitcases in which I could quite easily have smuggled my entire family.

I can only think that’s what some of my fellow passengers were doing - squeezing little Johnny into a spare Samsonite and hoping, given that he’s 70 per cent water, nobody would be paying much attention to the 100ml liquid rules.

While that might be an exaggeration, the giant bags are another symptom of the want more, pay less culture with which we now have to contend.

The airlines want to cut the size of carry on - to make sure it all fits in the cabin (which it didn’t on my short hop).

So soon the big suitcase brigade may well have to pay a little more for their low cost break. Either that or learn to pack smarter.