Nov. 21 | On the road again ... and why don't we go ahead and talk about something here: Baggage.

  • Posted on: 1 December 2009
  • By: Michelle

Alright. So. After what has shaped up to be an interesting and unpredictable pre-season, along with a week of fastidious packing, I am ready to leave for Germany this week for my second tour on the Europa Cup circuit.


Now there are many things that, to put it subtly, make me FREAKIN' CRAZY (among them cell phone companies, shoe laces and people in general ... ), but there is one skeleton-related item that hovers up near the top of that list, and that item is traveling with skeleton equipment.

First of all, space is somewhat limited. My sled takes up one piece of checked luggage. Which means I have one other piece of luggage to fit runners, tools, helmet, race suits, spikes, boots, snowpants, jackets, sneakers and any other personal gear I may want, like say a few pairs of underwear.

But the kicker for us is really the weight. My sled alone weighs 30 kilograms, which is already 16 pounds past the 50 pound weight limit. Then there are my runners, which weigh four kilograms a set, and I normally travel with three pairs. Add in the critical gear of training spikes, race spikes, two suits and the prerequisite tools and trinkets and I am generally left standing at the check-in counter with two extremely overweight bags, facing one extremely unaccomodating checkin agent.

And THAT's what makes me crazy. It's not that I can only bring four t-shirts and a single pair of jeans for the next month. It's not that I have to buy shampoo over there to save on weight. It's not that I have to decide on one pair of shoes to bring. It's not that I have to carry on virtually all of my personal gear, making me the person you DON'T want to be stuck behind in the security line (because my 100 ml travel toiletry bottles? They are NOT in a handily accesible clear plastic bag).

It's the hassling.

"Ms. Bartleman, your bag seems to be overweight."

Yeah. You think?

"Well, can you maybe move some stuff around in your luggage to make it fit within in the weight limit?"

Yeah. Sure. Do you have a metal cutter behind your little counter there, so that I can hack my sled in two and put a piece in my other ALREADY OVERWEIGHT bag?

"This second piece of luggage is also overweight."

Yes. I am aware of this fact. ARE YOU RETARDED? Which part of "I have two overweight bags" didn't you understand when I walked up to the counter and said "I have two overweight bags" ... ? Listen lady, I have to drag this stupid piece of metal up a 20 degree inclined outrun covered in snow, wearing snow-filled spikes and spandex in minus 30 degree weather. I KNOW IT'S HEAVY, OKAY?

Listen, it's not like I am trying to pass off an 80-pound, table-sized piece of luggage as two ping-pong paddles or a box of packing peanuts. That part where I said "Hey, "I have two overweight bags" ... ? That was me indicating, in good faith, that I KNOW THAT I HAVE TWO OVERWEIGHT BAGS, and that I am planning to pay the appropriate fees to accomodate that fact.

So, are the disdaining looks and snarky comments REALLY necessary? Do you REALLY think that I packed my bags wondering where I could find some extra pieces of scrap metal to stash in my luggage for the sole purpose of pissing off the checkin agent? Do you think that I love paying hundreds of dollars in overweight baggage charges? Listen lady, if I could do my sport in nothing more than a speedo, I would. But both propriety and sheer common sense prevent me from doing so.

So, in the name of all that is good and helpful, will you please, PLEASE, just look at your little chart, charge me the overweight baggage fees, print out the "HEAVY" tags so that we are ALL aware of the general nature of my luggage, hand me my boarding pass, smile nicely, and let me be on my way?

Anyone want to hear what I think about cell phone rates?