Mark’s Airline Rant

So. Off to New Zealand tomorrow.

And, of course, in the midst of deliberations what to take and what not to bother with, the target being to jam everything into two bags and each of them weighing in at 23.0 kg.

Well, and the rest goes into the carry on. The trick being to carry this bag as though it were not heavy at all, to walk past the stewardess at the entrance of the plane and smile at her nonchalantly – to get round the corner to collapse, gasping for breath and to proceed, staggering, to your allocated seat. There, after a sequence of mental preparation and muscle warming exercises, you heft the bag into the overhead bin.

So, I arrive at the airport, and the person at check in asks me whether I have anything to check in.

Are you joking?

I am an arborist, of course I have bags to check in… umpffff (sound of me hefting the bag onto the conveyor belt) ker-chunk… 23.0 kg. As I have written in the past, in a next life I plan to do something professionally that involves light equipment only, such as a professional dominoes player, a jogger or a concern trianglist. But for now, yes, I pack heavy gear.

What I love with some airlines is now they will slap a Caution! Heavy! sticker on your bag when it weighs 15 kg. Which always makes me wonder who handles their luggage? Oompa Loompas? Hobbits?

But here’s the thing, I have an issue with this 23 kg business.

It does not seem right that I have exactly the same weight allowance as the bloke behind me in the queue, the difference being that he must weigh at least 120 kg! So, here is what I propose, give us an average weight allowance, person plus bags. Now that would be fair. So I get to take a big bag – and the big unit in the queue behind me gets to pack… a small duffle.

The average weight assumed per passenger varies from airline to airline and country to country:

Nominal weight in Australia for passengers and baggage = 77+20 = 97 kgs

Nominal weight in USA:
FAA (1995) = 75.5+9+11=95.5 kg
for passengers + carry-on + baggage

Nominal weight in USA, revised
FAA (2003) = 93+9+14 = 116 kg
for passengers + carry-on + baggage

Nominal weights for Easyjet:
Male=93kg, Female=75kg, Child=30kg (including 5 kg carry on and luggage: 13kg for International flights, 11kg for domestics)

So, as you can see, there is quite a range there. It also reflects a growing population – in more than just one way! But seriously, if I am below the nominal weight the airline is basing their calculations on, then in a sense they are earning extra on me and it therefore seems only fair that they give something back by giving me some extra luggage allowance.

Samoa Air obviously feel the same way and have introduced a scheme where you pay per kilo. Gets my vote! And I would get to pack some extra kit!

Yes, I am probably obsessing a bit over this matter.