heavy issues

Now that its only a couple of days before the flight back to Australia the problem of luggage, or to be more specific too much luggage, has reared its ugly head. On the flight over here with Malaysian Airlines 3 months ago I was deemed to be 10 Kilos overweight when they weighed not only my check in case but also asked me to place my carry on bag and computer bag on the scales. This was a first for me and resulted in my carry on bag having to be checked in and a surcharge of A$200 excess. I was very stoic about this and philosophical until I boarded the aircraft and discovered that it was nearly empty.

My point is that surely if the aircraft is not fully fully booked, in fact in this case every passenger had their choice of three or four seats to stretch out on, then isn’t the overall weight going to be less than if it were full? Given that the staff at check in are aware of how many persons are travelling on that aircraft shouldn’t some allowance be made when the overall weight is not going to be so great? Or is the imposition of excess baggage charges just a money making exercise in an era of cut throat competition, reduced air fares, and rising fuel costs.

Malaysian Airlines offered a reduced fair of around US$750 return plus airport taxes from Sai Gon To Brisbane but I copped large excess baggage charges in both directions which doesn’t make the fares so attractive in the end. Not only that but when Lisa and I travelled back to Australia last March the excess charge was imposed collectively on our “overall” baggage weight which is strange in itself.

Now that I’ve had time to consider this issue I have taken the thought process one step further. Firstly I have to assume that I’m correct when I conjecture that it is the “overall” weight of everything being carried on the aircraft that is important considering that a heavy payload will result in more fuel being used. If that is so then why don’t airlines consider the “overall” weight of each passenger and their belongings?

Let me put it this way. I weigh approximately 72 Kilos and my luggage collectively weighed in at 35 Kilos giving a total of 107 Kilos. Now I saw a few people checking in on my flight who would have easily weighed in at around 100-110 Kilos in their stockinged feet. One guy at the next counter was of this stature but because his baggage was within the 25 Kilo limit he received no excess baggage charge despite his “overall” weight being possibly 20-30 Kilos more than mine. Is this fair?

Surely it is reasonable that airlines weigh the overall package and maybe allow a little bit more baggage for diminutive types. Lets face it, for a smallish person who weighs in at around 40-50 kilos it hardly seems right that they cop a hefty “fine” when in reality they are weighing the aircraft down less than a larger person with less baggage. Of course I’m being very tongue-in-cheek and I realise that persons of larger proportions would be being disadvantaged by such a system so it will never happen.

Having said all of that there is a box being prepared to go back to Australia via parcel post in the hope that this time we will be under the limit. Maybe, given that “my” weight doesn’t appear to count, I’ll wear clothes with heaps of pockets and place all the heavy items in them or, like Mimi did when checking in at Than Son Nhat to travel to America, I’ll wear five layers of clothes through the check in and transfer them to my carry on once I’m in the departure lounge. (Whew that must have been hot). I’m so proud of you Mimi!