In the winter of 1971 when I was coming back from a six month say in Europe (three month first class Eurailpass: USD 250) I boarded my Icelandic Airlines (now Icelandair) plane in Luxembourg and saw a fellow passenger (successfully!!!) in the boarding area with literally half a Volkswagen bug. This was, obviously, not 'carry on' but the liberal policies then were quite different and he actually flew with it in tow.
How did I afford this long trip? Back then a USD got FOUR Swiss francs. NOW? Less than ONE. That's how.
Later that year (15 Aug 1971) the US went off the final vestige of the gold standard and overnight you got only three Sfrs to the USD. - David Lyga