Ohio college student goes viral for TikTok of traveling pool noodle

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TAMPA, Florida (WFLA) – Sydney Fowls is having a big year.

The Ashland University education student has gone viral following a series of TikTok videos explaining how she took advantage of Southwest Airline’s two bags fly-free policy in order to win a $20 bet.


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Fowls was flying from Ohio to Tampa when she checked in a pool noodle on a flight from Columbus.

She documented her pool noodle’s journey from check-in to baggage claim, creating a delightful TikTok video that’s racked up nearly 11 million views.

The viral video was picked up by Southwest staff who got in on the joke and reposted Fowls’ TikTok on its Twitter account.

Sydney’s family: $20 says you won’t check a pool noodle on Southwest.

Sydney: bet. (See below for part 2!) pic.twitter.com/WZJM0rlLqg

— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) May 30, 2021

In a separate TikTok video, Fowls outlined the reasons why she chose to pull the stunt.

“It was a $20 bet!! As a broke college student who is an education major… I just couldn’t resist,” she said.

“I did not have to pay to bring my noodle,” she said as reason number two, alongside a screenshot of Southwest’s website outlining its two bags fly free policy.


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Southwest reached out to Sydney following the viral video and loved the video so much they gave her a Southwest-branded pool noodle in the middle of Tampa International Airport.

@sydneyfowls05

My pool noodle made it back home to Ohio! Thank you Southwest Airlines for everything you did for me! @flysouthwest @junebug2433 #viral

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“The amazing Southwest employees filled the baggage claim with pool noodles and beach balls to show their appreciation saying it made their day,” Fowls said.

Sydney says the trip will be forever memorable.

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