DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a petite woman (5 foot 2) and have a problem stowing my carry-on luggage in the compartments above the seats, as I am generally unable to lift my suitcase and deposit it into the overhead. Even worse is getting it out without its falling on someone's head!
In general, I will wait until the passengers behind me have deplaned, and then I ask the tallest flight attendant for help, or I will ask a taller fellow passenger.
I used to simply check my luggage, but now most airlines charge quite a bit for it, and I prefer not to bill my clients for checking an extra bag due only to my problem reaching it.
As I fly frequently, both domestically and internationally, this issue comes up quite a bit. I am slightly embarrassed, to be honest, as I look around for a tall person to help me, but I don't know what else to do. As I generally carry a handbag, that item goes under my seat, so there is no extra room under there for a carry-on suitcase.
The other issue is the grocery store, where I frequently am unable to reach top shelves or shelves where items are toward the back of the shelf. Again, I find it embarrassing to have to go looking for someone taller to assist me.
I don't know if you have any advice, as I feel there may be no alternatives and I should be happy that my stature is my only handicap, but I seriously was thinking recently that I should respond to the boarding call of those passengers needing extra assistance getting on the plane. Would this be too much? Or should I ask in advance for help?
GENTLE READER: What would your affliction be? That you are vertically challenged?
Being herself of a somewhat diminutive height (but large in personality), Miss Manners has a certain sympathy, but if every passenger pleaded special circumstances, demanding early boarding on airlines, they would never even get to calling Group 1.
Oh wait, that problem already exists.
Make your best effort to store your overhead luggage or reach high grocery shelves yourself, looking as pathetic and humbled as you can muster while doing so. Miss Manners feels certain that someone will come to your rescue -- if for no other reason that no one wants to get bonked on the head by low-flying cargo.