Checking your bags is the best way to fly.

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You’re all making a big mistake when you fly, according to Slate’s editor in chief, Hillary Frey. The current conventional wisdom is that taking a carry-on aboard the plane is a safer, more economical alternative to checking a bag and having to entrust your belongings to a chaotic airline industry.

But that line of thinking is wrong. Frey argues: “You know what is beautiful and relaxing? Walking through the airport without your suitcase. Going to the bathroom without your suitcase. Wedging yourself into the bar for a preflight drink and burger and not having to shove your suitcase between stools. It is the closest thing to lightness and freedom in an environment engineered to annoy you.” And that’s not the only perk of checking your luggage.

Plus: If you’re frustrated by your last canceled flight, try being a travel agent right now. Erica Wilkinson gives us a firsthand look at the troubling new normal in the travel industry.

And catch up on all of Airplane Mode, Slate’s series on the business—and pleasure—of travel right now.

An unnatural disaster

The town of Lahaina, Hawaii, burned to the ground this week as devastating wildfires tore through Maui. As of Friday, the death toll stands at 55 and is expected to rise. As climate change–fueled catastrophes become more common, there are several factors that make this a particularly shocking tragedy. Henry Grabar explains.

Bring back the hack

The giant great white shark from The Meg is about to eat a director's chair.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Maksym Kravchenko /iStock/. Plus and Warner Bros.

Greta Gerwig’s Narnia, Barry Jenkins’ Lion King … Hollywood’s greatest directors keep getting drafted to make bad franchise movies. The solution is obvious, writes Sam Adams. Rather than conscripting auteurs and grinding them up, why not bring in a hack?

Battle over the border

Texas has constructed a series of nightmarish obstacles in the Rio Grande to try to prevent people from crossing into the U.S. illegally. The state’s scheme clearly violates federal law, so Republican lawmakers and lawyers have resorted to making some head-scratching legal claims, such as citing the biblical story of Noah’s Ark (yes, really). Mark Joseph Stern analyzes why the case is at once comical and deeply disturbing.

Publish or perish

The publishing industry has a new nightmare. While consolidation has long been the boogeyman of the book world, another existential threat has arrived. Alex Kirshner writes: “A private equity firm taking over an enormous legacy publisher is different from another publisher doing it. But it remains to be seen if it will be any better, particularly if your interest in this story is as a writer or reader of books.”

Sticking the landing

Simone Biles raises her arms in the air during the floor exercise.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Stacy Revere/..

Simone Biles continues to boggle the mind. After training in secret, she suddenly emerged to blow the roof off the competition at the U.S. Classic gymnastics competition. Rebecca Schuman recaps Biles’ surreal return and breaks down just how exciting—and unprecedented—these developments are.

Today, Slate is … * LEADING A RENAISSANCE OF THE NATIONAL SPIRIT

… much like Bob Iger if he were America’s president. Instead, the Disney CEO has had to adjust his ambitions: He is currently “trying to hose the fraternity smell off a second-tier online casino” (aka launching an ESPN-themed gambling app).

Thanks so much for reading! We’ll be back on Monday.

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