HLO Day 27: The Bag Breaks And 3G Dies

HLO Day 27: The Bag Breaks And 3G Dies

It’s been quite a banner day for the Hand Luggage Only project. One wheel on the all-important bag has fallen off and I’ve encountered my worst 3G reception yet — within metropolitan Sydney.

I have no idea where the wheel on the case went. It was there when I got off the plane from Perth yesterday, but by the time I departed from my central Sydney hotel this morning, it had disappeared. I can kind of roll the bag using the single remaining wheel, but it won’t be much of an option once this particular trip is over.

I shouldn’t complain, really. The bag was an industry freebie I got years ago, resurrected recently because it meets the key requirements for this trip: biggest possible dimensions for a single item of carry-on luggage, wheels built-on, and no built-in compartments, leading to maximum packing flexibility. It’s served the task well, save for the sudden absence of mobility. And at least I can buy a replacement with a longer handle.

The 3G disaster occurred on the train journey to Kiama (itself filled with drama that I’ll get to another time). I fully expected the odd blackspot on this journey — one of the reasons I was doing it was to see if daily commuters could rely on the service — but for pretty much the whole second half I couldn’t even scare up Next G. Bear in mind how frequently Telstra boasts about the reach of its network: I was sitting on a frequently stationery metropolitan train service in Australia’s biggest city and it didn’t work. No wonder the carriage was so quiet.

Throughout May 2009, Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman will be travelling throughout Australia with just one carry-on bag for the Hand Luggage Only project.


  • Maybe I’m the only one, but I personally can’t stand people who use carry-on luggage to drag around stuff they don’t need on the plane.

    If you lug around your big wheelie bag and put it in the overhead locker, then you take away space from other people who want to put a simple laptop bag or something up there in which they keep the stuff they want to use on the plane.

    Having just spent two weeks in the US (where they charge for checked luggage even on full-service airlines), I was immensely frustrated when I took flights typically taken by businesspeople, because there would *never* be any space in the overhead locker for my bag, which included stuff which I actually needed to use.

    Honestly, just check the bag. It’s way more convenient, it’s only a dollar or two extra, and it frees up the space in the overhead lockers for people who actually need it.

    • Surely though if you want to use something on the flight, it’s more convenient to have it under the seat in front of you than in the overhead?

      I might also add that even when I’m checking luggage, the blue bag has generally been what I’ve taken for carry-on, since there’s no way I’d check the PC or the camera, and I generally will use the former on the plane.

      I entirely agree though that US travellers are often incredibly selfish about this, bringing on multiple bags which are bigger than the approved size and then trying to put all of them in the overhead lockers. On recent trips, I’ve noticed that the gate staff are getting much stricter about checking bag size before boarding, which is a welcome development.

    • Have you ever had a checked bag sent to another airport? I have and it sucks. And my bag had over $3000 worth of goods in it. Fortunately I got it back, but the first day of my trip I had no idea if I would or not.

      I now always try to take only a carry on, which is my right. I don’t care about the extra charge, I’ve been doing it for much longer than the charges have existed. It’s so much more convient, I always have a little smile as I pass the baggage claim area remembering the days when I used to stand there with all the other people fighting for the best spot to get your bag, wondering when, or if it would come out. Now once I’m off the plane, I’m on my way to my destination in 5 minutes or less.

      Another thing: those bags with wheels are for suckers, they add 3-7 pounds to the bag, are way less convenient when you need to move fast, and break all the time. Get a bag with a shoulder strap, you’ll be much happier.

      • I had a bag with a shoulder strap (well, a sequence of them) right up until this year — but after having several snap in transit, I figured they couldn’t be doing either my laptop or my shoulder much good.

  • I live on the South Coast and totally understand about the poor 3G signal you have experienced.

    My wife travels up to Sydney from Wollongong daily and even though she has a work laptop she couldn’t utelise a 3G link with Telsta or Optus for over half the journey.

    On the other hand – its one of the most picturesque train trips that I have been on, so enjoy! 🙂

  • Flaky 3G is one of the reasons I love offline gmail so much 🙂 it works fantastically and often means that I’m forced to do some “real” work instead of loafing around online (like now lol… better get back to it!)

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!