I recently wrote about a couple of female tourists at the airport who apparently have never been on an escalator before as they loaded their suitcases on the steps before getting on. Obviously, this was a huge mistake and a woman near the bottom of the escalator got wiped out like the headpin in bowling. Here’s the full story and video.

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I posted the story on my social media channels (you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and one follower on Twitter shared a related experience. Jamie Baker wrote: “@JohnnyJet I was knocked over on a United 787 last month. I was lifting my bag into the overhead, and a passenger was coming down the aisle WALKING BACKWARDS and pulling their bag. I went down hard. I wish there was video.”

This reminded me of another thing I do subconsciously when I travel. I once took an overnight flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and when we landed in Miami, I popped up to grab my bags from the overhead compartment. Yes, I’m one of those people who jumps up the second the captain turns off the seatbelt sign. I do it for a number of reasons: 1. I’m usually in a hurry. 2. I don’t like to sit for long periods of time. 3. I almost always get an aisle seat, so it gives my seatmate a welcome bit of space. 4. It speeds up the deplaning process for everyone.

BTW: When I travel, I have two bags: a rolling briefcase with all my essential stuff (laptop, camera, chargers, gadgets, money, passport, first aid kit …) and the other is a brown leather duffel bag for my clothes.

Strapped to the handle of my rolling briefcase is a device called a Lugbuddy, which the company no longer makes. But it’s essentially a fancy bungee cord that allows me to quickly strap my duffel bag to my rolling briefcase so I can cruise through the airport or around town without it falling off. Here’s a similar device that does the same job and really makes things so much easier.

Well, when I bent down to grab the end of the Lugbuddy to secure it around my bag, the old man sitting behind me, who obviously couldn’t lift his too-heavy bag, pulled it out of the overhead and dropped it on the back of my head. I saw stars and I’m lucky it didn’t kill me. The worst part is that he didn’t even apologize.

RELATED: 10 Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Airplane Habits

So now, whenever I bend down to grab my Lugbuddy or to get something out of my carry-on, I make sure there’s no one around who looks likely to do the same irresponsible thing. The aisles are tight and everyone is trying to get their bags down from the overhead bins at the same time so it’s easy for accidents to happen. This is also another good reason, besides it just being the right thing to do, to help those in need of assistance to safely lift their bags down.

On top of all of this, I also always open the overhead bins with caution because as the flight attendants warn, bags do shift around in-flight and I’ve seen some (not often) fall out upon opening. You don’t want your bag or anyone else’s to fall on you or someone else who is either sitting in the aisle seat or worse, a little kid standing in the aisle. It’s another good reason for little ones to sit tight until everyone around you has gathered their bags.

On a related note, when I come home from the grocery store and have a lot of groceries or a watermelon, I always put my hands out when I open the hatchback to catch anything that might have shifted on the ride home. Again, I learned this the hard way when I once opened the back of my car, my groceries fell out and the gigantic melon almost landed on my foot.

Updated: From a reader …


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2 Comments On "After Learning the Hard Way, This is What I Subconsciously Do Every Time I Deplane"
  1. Christina Liem|

    While on the moving sidewalk at Sky Harbor, I was excitedly chatting with my friend. Unfortunately I was facing her and not looking forward. I went down hard and fast when we came to the end. Thank goodness no one else was hurt. Lesson learned.

  2. Heidi Scribner|

    My daughter-in-law had a preschool in a hilly part of San Francisco. When she’d take the kids to the pumpkin patch in October, she learned to buy a couple extra because one ALWAYS fell out of the back of the car and rolled down the hill!
    PS I LOVE your newsletters, and miss you on Leo’s radio show.

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