I tried the viral fishing vest travel hack to get revenge on exorbitant airline fees — and I'd do it again
- I tried to the viral fishing vest travel hack to avoid paying for a carry-on during my recent JetBlue flight.
- The trend was popularized on TikTok as a way to avoid airlines' add-on fees.
It started out as a joke. Wouldn't it be funny if I tried this goofy TikTok trend and embarrassed myself by wearing a fishing vest in the airport?
Sorry reader. This is no light-hearted blog. This is a story of revenge.
A brief interlude for my villain origin story:
I stupidly booked the wrong date for my flight. I couldn't believe it. It must have been karma for making fun of my mom when she made the same mistake years ago, forcing us to drive 15 hours to South Carolina (I never let her forget it).
My ego sufficiently crushed, I called JetBlue to try and change the ticket. After sitting on hold for five minutes, I was informed by the robotic voice that I would be charged a $25 service fee for talking to someone on the phone. Equally enraged at myself and the airline, I hung up and tried changing the flight myself.
Now would be a good time to mention that I purchased a Blue Basic ticket
The wonderfully cheap fare option came with a long list of restrictions, including a $100 change fee that I willingly agreed to since I, a seasoned traveler, would never make a silly mistake like booking a flight for the wrong Tuesday.
But alas, there I was, facing the consequences of my own actions and forking over $100 to change my $85 flight. This hurt, as I had only fond memories of the airline prior to this experience.
If there was one thing I was certain about, it was that I would NOT be paying $65 for a carry-on bag. So I drove to my aunt and uncle's house, dropped off my cousin's fishing rods that he left in the truck, and swapped them for an extra-extra-large Helly Hansen fishing vest.
If you are not constantly on the internet, you may be wondering how a fishing vest would allow me to take sweet revenge on JetBlue. Well, fishing vests have a lot of pockets. This one has 18, to be exact.
Since budget airlines usually only allow you one free personal item, ever-resourceful TikTokers started packing their belongings in fishing vests as a sort of wearable backpack to avoid paying carry-on fees. It's just one of many money-saving travel hacks popularized by young travelers fed up with the airline industry's soaring prices, hidden fees, and rampant delays.
Giddy with vengeance and eager to join the movement, I packed that vest to the brim. In the larger front pockets, I fit two bathing suits and the entirety of my makeup bag. The smaller pockets I reserved for gadgets: AirPods and wire earphones, a MacBook and iPhone charger, plus my wallet for easy access.
In the vest's inner pockets, I stashed my sunglasses and eyeglasses, my contact case, a hair clip, and a granola bar. Then, in the mother of all pockets located on the back of the vest that I can only assume is for storing a dead fish, I packed my laptop and a book.
I fit the rest of my clothes and a pair of shoes into a backpack, my official personal item. Not only did the vest allow me to bring things I wouldn't have had room for otherwise —the variety of pockets actually made it easier to access my belongings than if they were all crammed into a single purse.
I'm a light packer, but this wouldn't be possible for anything longer than a weekend trip.
When it came time to head to the airport, some of my initial fervor was quickly replaced by anxiety. I waited for my friend to check his bag (sucker) and practiced my lines if caught. "Oh what's in all these pockets? Just my fishing gear. Caught a striper early this morning, actually."
Attempting to be as discreet as possible, I held the vest in my arms until I placed it in the security bin and made it through without a problem. Once I put the vest back on at the gate, a fellow passenger looked me up and down.
"Nice hack," she said. "I read about that on the internet."
Encouraged by my newfound comrade's support, I held my breath and scanned my ticket. The gate agent cheerfully let me pass, no questions asked, and told me to have a good flight. Mission accomplished.
At one point in your life, you too will feel irrational rage against an airline for something that is entirely your own fault. Channel it. Get off Twitter. Put on a fishing vest. Walk by the gate agent with a smug smile on your face. You will feel better. I promise.
- EPFO invested Rs 27,105 crore in exchange trade funds in Apr-Oct: Labour Min
- Cocktails to prasads: What Indians wanted to cook and brew in 2023
- Kiara Advani to David Beckham, the most searched people in India in 2023
- Kashmir to Switzerland and more – India’s 10 most searched travel destinations in 2023
- Five common symptoms of Stomach Cancer