Tonya Hope



What’s in Your Bag?

By Lainey Berkus and Marie Zorek


Ladies, do you struggle when deciding what to pack for a trip? I know that a poor packing job can certainly mess up travel plans. Like so many, I am a victim of overpacking and taking too many shoes that are never worn. Those heavy boots, heels and tennies really mess with the weight restrictions and often create added fees. I also forget essential items from time to time — like my toothbrush and toothpaste. Sound familiar?


How can we pack and prepare better for our next flight out for work or leisure? I turned to someone for answers who knows her way around an airport. Meet Tonya Hope, the dynamic and seasoned PR Manager for the San Antonio Airport System. Tonya directs and manages public affairs, public information programs and all media relations for the airport. She also keeps us in the know about the cultural programs, gallery exhibits, special events, new retail shops and restaurants that are all part of an authentic and elevated traveling experience.


Did you know that there are 45 nonstop destinations, including eight international destinations? Plus, the first-ever nonstop trans-Atlantic flight on Condor Airlines to Frankfurt, Germany, starts in the Spring. This flight will also connect to dozens of destinations throughout Europe and beyond. More new nonstop flights to Mexico (such as Queretaro and Torreon) were added along with domestic flights to popular destinations like Los Angeles, Burbank, Tampa and New York. Last year, three additional gates were added to the airport footprints, one in Terminal A and two in Terminal B. The biggest news, however, is that our airport will be expanding. A new terminal with up to 17 gates will be twice the size of the current terminals. It will support additional air service and have a multi-story ground transportation center. The expected completion date is mid-2028.


“We have an Arts & Culture Manager who creates arts experiences like live music and singing during the holiday season and even a Fiesta parade, with floats and royalty, that travels through the terminals. We have our own police and fire departments to make sure our travelers are safe. My job is to promote all the exciting news and happenings that take place at the airport. It’s truly an exhilarating and energizing time to be a woman in the aviation system”, says Tonya.


10.7 million passengers flew in and out of San Antonio last year, with more expected in 2024. That means there are a lot of bags moving around — and, occasionally, some get lost, which is why packing and organizing your carry-on is hugely important. Tonya, any advice?


Q What type of bags are best as carry-ons?

A The best type of carry-on is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and fits in the overhead compartment or under the seat. The trendy hard shell suitcases are nice, but they do not bend so make sure your bag fits into the storage areas or else it will be checked. Be wary of suitcases with wheels, they can get stuck, become loose or fall off. Make sure your zippers work properly.


Q Tell me about your carry-on bags?

A I have two favorite bags. My spacious camel-colored leather Steve Madden duffel has an adjustable and detachable strap, so I can use it as a shoulder bag, crossbody, or handheld. I always put a purple tag on my luggage so my bags are easily recognizable. My second bag is a Steve Madden matching backpack that holds essentials. It has one zipper, inside pockets, a top hook handle with adjustable straps, and a removable wristlet for my passenger identification, credit cards, and change for parking and tipping.


Q What do you pack in your carry-on?

A The contents are a mix of fun and seriousness, depending on the purpose of my trip.

I roll my clothing to save space (fewer wrinkles too). Light, functional and washable clothes are best and hopefully can be worn more than once. I pack a jacket or sweater, a pair of pants, one skirt and a few blouses. I am a runner, so I always keep my tennis shoes with me.

Pouches and luggage pockets help you stay organized and make the most of your space. I carry a variety of glasses in a pouch because I want my eyewear to complement my outfit. Toiletries and makeup go in another pouch. The same is true with general items like chargers, my iPhone and snacks. One book and three magazines are in my carry-on, too.


Q Any other do’s or don’ts when packing for a trip?

A It is wise to make a checklist of what you are taking on your trip. Take a photo too.

Put your contact information inside your bags, in addition to the outside tag.

Check with the airlines to make sure your carry-on will fit under the seat or in the overhead. One size does not fit for all airplanes. The standard carry-on size is 22 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 9 inches deep, and that includes wheels and handles.

Everything you pack should serve a realistic purpose. If it doesn’t, keep those items in the closet/drawers at home.

Check with TSA for all restrictions. Do not try to enter the airport with a bottle of water, can of soda, bottle of wine, pepper spray, mace, batteries, guns or any kind of novelty item that can turn into a weapon. Liquids, gels and aerosols must be under 3.4 ounces and fit into a 1-quart bag (all liquids must fit into one bag per passenger). Have your medication, ID, and anything you can’t go a day without in your carry-on. Keep your passport and valuable items close too, like a laptop.



more posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our