When you travel, you usually only bring the essentials. You pack the things that you want to have with you but are too costly to buy when you land. Sometimes, though, what a person needs to bring with them varies from individual to individual. Most people bring clothes, but some may think that a pool noodle is an essential item for travel, and they may even document their noodle's on-flight journey.
Here's how a pool noodle went viral on TikTok.
A pool noodle's journey from Ohio to Florida was documented on TikTok when Sydney Fowls, a 20-year-old college student decided to test Southwest Airline's policy which says that you can check two pieces of luggage for free. Usually, people use that rule to check bags, but Sydney decided to check a pool noodle instead. She brought her pool noodle as part of a $20 bet with her family and documented the item's journey to Tampa.
In a follow-up post on TikTok, Sydney explained that she couldn't resist the bet, and acknowledged that she could have bought a pool noodle in Florida if she wanted to. By bringing the noodle with her, though, it was technically free. Sydney's videos documenting her noodle's journey have been viewed millions of times on TikTok, and Southwest was quick to capitalize on the opportunity for some free publicity.
Southwest Airlines posted about the TikTok themselves.
Since it basically fell into their laps, Southwest would have been foolish not to capitalize on the free publicity that Sydney's viral video had given them.
"Sydney's family: $20 says you won't check a pool noodle on Southwest. Sydney: bet," the company posted on Twitter.
The company also gifted Sydney with a branded pool noodle, and she was greeted on her arrival by a crew of Southwest employees waving noodles of their own.
"The amazing Southwest employees filled the baggage claim with pool noodles and beach balls to show their appreciation, saying it made their day," Sydney wrote on TikTok.
Thrillist reports that, on most other major airlines, Sydney's decision to check her pool noodle would have cost her at least $30. Southwest really couldn't ask for better publicity for its baggage policies.
Sydney does not have a huge following on TikTok.
Although Sydney's video chronicling her noodle's journey has been watched more than 11 million times, Sydney only has roughly 20,000 followers on TikTok and doesn't have that many other videos on the platform either.
There are definitely influencers who produce content consistently that receives a solid number of views, but there are also other creators who are making individual videos that go viral because of the stories they tell.
TikTok users may not have known who Sydney was before she posted her pool noodle video, but one of the advantages of the platform is a great video can go viral regardless of where it comes from. Sydney and her pool noodle got to have a moment of internet fame, and they even got a Southwest pool noodle out of the deal.