If your bag doesn’t fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat in front of you, and you can’t keep it in your lap, then your item will have to go in the cargo hold.
But what happens if your cargo is too precious to go in the belly of the aircraft?
Frank Somerville, the evening anchor at KTVU, shared a story that captured many people’s hearts.
A woman, identified only as Kathryn, told Somerville she had recently flown on Alaska Airlines with a very fragile item. It was an odd shape that wasn’t able to be shoved into the overhead bin nor could it slide under a seat.
Kathryn was flying to attend her grandmother’s funeral and the item she had in tow was a poster of when she turned 100.
The woman made a poster and didn’t want it to get ruined while in transit.
Kathryn’s grandmother, Concetta Immacolata Mongiardo, was 103 years old and “the light of my life.”
And she felt that a photo she took of Mongiardo on her 100th birthday perfectly portrayed “the essence of my grandmother’s nature: Gratitude.”
Kathryn turned this photo into a poster to be used at her grandmother’s funeral.
When she arrived at her gate she spoke to the airline agent about her poster, which had been covered in cardboard.
“At first, I was told that it would have to go in the cargo hold with all the regular baggage,” she shared with Somerville.
The woman then explained with emotion why she was traveling and who the cardboard was protecting.
She said the gate agent, Lourdes Pedemonte, began to cry as well and promised that her precious item would not go in the cargo hold.
A gate agent assured her the poster would be safe during her flight.
When it came time to board her flight Pam Keck, a flight attendant, greeted Kathryn.
“You must be the woman with some precious cargo,” Kathryn recalled.
Keck took the poster from her and handed it off to the pilots who were seated in the cockpit.
“… They both made eye contact with me and told me not to worry, that they would take good care of Nan as we traveled across the country,” Kathryn wrote.
The flight attendant placed Kathryn’s poster inside the cockpit for safekeeping.
When the plane landed, Kathryn went to retrieve the poster of her grandmother. She thanked Keck and asked her to thank the pilots on her behalf. She was surprised when Keck told her she could thank them herself.
“She said, ‘You can thank them yourself, there they are.’ So I looked them both in the eye, and, with my hand over my heart, thanked them for taking care of Nan,” Kathryn wrote. “They both said, ‘It was an honor’ and offered their condolences.”