Usually, when luggage exceeds the maximum weight for flights, people pay an extra fee to have it boarded on the plane. But for Filipino passenger Gel Rodriguez, that was not an option.
Rodriguez refused to pay the extra fee and instead decided it was best to wear her clothes from her overweight suitcase, which meant putting on layers and layer of pants, shirts, jackets and long-sleeved tops.
In her Facebook post on October 2, she explained how the airline staff informed her that her carry-on luggage exceeded the maximum weight of 7 kilograms (15.4 lbs). Her luggage originally weighed 9 kilograms (19.8 lbs).
By wearing her clothes, her luggage weight was reduced by 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lbs), which is more than she had needed to remove.
"I didn't want to pay the fee for the excess baggage because it was only 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs)," Rodriguez told VICE.
With the excess weight successfully removed from her luggage, she shared her outfit online using the hashtag #ExcessBaggageChallengeAccepted.
The post has since gotten over 19,000 shares, 781 comments and 31 thousand reactions with netizens lauding Rodriguez for her #lifehack.
“What a brilliant mind," a netizen commented. While another added, “Thank you for the idea.” One netizen even tagged a loved one and commented that “we should do this instead.”
Rodriguez said she was surprised at the response to her post.
"If I had known it would go viral, I would have posed better," Rodriguez joked.
But while Rodriguez was able to avoid the extra fee, she said she probably wouldn't do it again – and cautioned others from following her footsteps.
"Maybe not," she said "It was really hot. I don't recommend other people do it."
Earlier this year, another woman in the UK attempted the same hack and got away with it, with the airline even praising her for her quick thinking, going so far as to assure passengers that they would be increasing their allowable baggage weight in the future.
While these cases have been successful, this trick hasn’t always worked. There have been multiple instances of passengers trying the same hack, like 2018 British artist Ryan Hawaii who was kicked off his flight by the captain for his behaviour. He had attempted to wear 10 shirts and 8 pairs of pants, which is much more than Rodriguez's haul.
In 2015, James McElvar of the Scottish boy band Rewind, lost consciousness after attempting to wear all his clothes on a flight. The singer was reported to have suffered from a heart attack when it was in fact from heat exhaustion.
With travel sales rising and backpacking around the world becoming trendy, stunts like these have become common. Budget airline Norwegian Air even listed some embarrassing moments passengers have had with excess baggage situations.
Some instances included a passenger who tried to bribe the airline staff with chocolate, another refused to comply and insisted “Me no speak English”, while someone even went so far as to pretend it was their dead pet’s ashes in the bag.
According to a study by payments company VISA with the help of Oxford Economics, Filipinos are known to be among Asia’s top travelers, which could explain the shared excitement of the community about Rodriguez's stunt.