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Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in Blog, Rants and Raves, Travel | 2 comments

How a Simple Poker Invention Can Solve Maximum Pain at Baggage Claim


Airport Baggage Claim


Common sense is in short supply — especially at airports.

I realize everyone’s in a hurry.¬†¬†Airlines make flying about as glamorous as boarding a filthy greyhound bus headed to Detroit.¬†¬†Traveling takes nearly twice as long as it should because passengers have to go through the equivalent of a rectal exam.

Flying is stressful.  And at the end of your long flight, the thing we desire most is a lifeline, which is our baggage.

Hopefully, our bags arrive — signed, sealed, delivered — which is followed by a smooth trip either home or to the hotel.

Too bad, it’s not that easy.


Yesterday, I reached the boiling point.

At the Miami airport, I just arrived from a long five-hour cross-country flight. ¬†There’s always an unspoken joy each time you disembark from a flight. ¬†Being able to breathe fresh air again is nice. ¬†To get circulation back into your legs. ¬†But nothing beats getting up and leaving the non-stop talker that just told you his life story while you’ve traveled 3,500 miles.

If there’s joy in getting off the plane, there’s even greater anticipation once you arrive at the baggage claim. ¬†Having had airlines lose my bags four times over the past ten years, I now realize that airports are nothing more than casinos for travelers. ¬†But instead of chips and cash — it’s time and possessions on the line. ¬†It’s the rush of placing chips on a number and waiting for the little spinning ball to land on the roulette wheel. ¬†Eventually, everyone’s number comes and up at some point, and so we all get fucked by having to wear the same set of dirty clothes for three days while the airline “investigates” why your bag ended up in Paraguay.

Oh, let’s get back to what happened yesterday in Miami. ¬†Check out these photos, which give you some idea of what’s to come.

Baggage Claim Area



Look at these jerkoffs!

Do they seriously think their bag is going to come any faster because they park their joker asses right in front of the baggage claim? ¬†How much time are they actually saving by standing in the way like a chorus line, while blocking everyone else’s access to their bag?

Claiming your bag shouldn’t require that you turn into Ray Lewis and linebacker your way through¬†a dozen assholes to get your stuff.

I just don’t get it.

Here’s the scenario.

Everyone’s exhausted. ¬†Babies are crying. ¬†After a few relatives have been hugged for the week’s stay, some of the conversations are already growing stale. ¬†Everybody just wants to claim their bag and get the fuck out of here.


How can I see my bag when it’s three people deep gathered around the luggage belt? ¬†And just to show you I’m not taking this personally, what if I were standing in front of you, and suddenly you need to make a mad dash for your bag? ¬†Who is in the way here and blocking progress?

Look at this madness!

Move out of the fucking way!  HERE COMES MY BAG!!!



Take a look at this outrageous photo, which was from yesterday’s rugby match at the Miami airport.

First, let’s assume you were lucky enough to see your bag. ¬†Now, you see it coming fast towards you headed down the carousel. ¬†You’ve got about 8 seconds to blow four people out of the way, hoist 45 pounds of your belongings, and land it on the tarmac that is the baggage claim floor. ¬†If you can accomplish this, you belong in the cast of Cirque du Soleil.

Trouble is — 85,000 jerks are standing in the way, who are all completely oblivious to your intentions. ¬†Look at them. ¬†They wouldn’t turn around to piss on you if you were on fire.

Since access to our luggage is body blocked, this risks potential doom.

You know what potential doom is, don’t you?

Potential doom is completely missing your bag, which means it next has to cycle all the way around the belt again, which is never quick because the belt always seems to shut off once your bag has circled back behind the plastic curtain. ¬†Then there’s always the threat of a bag thief eyeing the “stray,” and heisting your bag on its second loop.

Once, the bag finally comes again, next you have to plow past several boobs, limbs, and asses out to make a strike at your luggage handle.

Sorry people. ¬†It shouldn’t take the equivalent of performing a tailhook on an aircraft carrier, to pick up a bag off a carousel.




All this madness could be solved by one simple solution.

It’s so obvious.

It’s called — a line.

Think of it. ¬†Poker players already know about the line. ¬†It’s meant to mark the precise point at which a wager is being made. ¬†Do whatever you want behind the line. ¬†But once you cross the line with chips, you’re committed.

All baggage claims at airports should have a line taped down on the floor. ¬†You only cross the line when you see your bag. ¬†You walk over, and get your bag off the belt, with ease. ¬†You don’t have to knock anyone out of the way or use any F-bombs. ¬†Imagine — getting claiming your bag in a stress-free environment.

I hereby propose that floor lines be drawn at all major airports.  Fliers can only cross the line if they see their bag approaching.

Having lines allows many more people the ability to see the entire luggage belt and easily claim their belongings hassle-free. ¬†Rather than having TSA Agents padding down grandmothers and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars searching for “dangerous” liquids like bottled water and hair shampoo, let’s shift our national labor force where it’s REALLY needed to make flying more efficient.

The flying experience can be improved by a simple invention used in poker called “the line” — and then arresting anyone that stands in no man’s land.


  1. You missed mentioning the geniuses who need to park their smart cart right next to them at the carousel, and best of all the two parents with 2 or 3 kids who want to let the kids try to pull it off and then make a line 5 people long. I guess
    I have my own form of being a jerk at baggage, but I always stand well behind your line since I can always see my bag being 6’3″, and when I do I push in grab the handle and loudly state “This bag coming off is very heavy, it may hurt if your do not clear the way” and so far it always works.

    • Ah yes, the smart cart! Wait, it gets even worse. Nolan, you failed to point out that once enough people have established their positions, it is possible to create a gridlock situation in which no ones bags can be claimed because the only bags on the carrousel belong to the people who cannot get to them. The people in front refusr to move because, seeing so many bags, they are CERTAIN that theirs must be among them. Seriously, I’ve seen this happen on small carrousel systems.

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