Monday, December 19, 2005

Logic Puzzle

Excess Baggage.

This is about a funny experience I had while I was boarding an Emirates Flight to Dubai. I was flying from Madurai and I was in the Chennai international Airport well before the departure time of 0330h for the flight to Dubai. So, I happened to be the first passenger to check in for that flight. Everything went normal and I got the seats I wanted and I took the boarding pass. But when I was about to leave the counter, an airline official stopped me and asked me to get my hand baggage weighed. I did and and the total weight was found that it was 5 Kgs over the normal authorized baggage allowance. I tried to convince him that the size of the hand baggage is perfect and it will fit in the cabin luggage space, but to no avail. I finally paid the excess baggage fare Rs 1700/- and then proceeded further.

When I turned back, I saw a huge fat man, checking in with a small brief case who was welcomed with a plastic smile by the counter clerk. A flash of thought struck me and I was puzzled by logic behind this whole excess baggage rule. Normally aircrafts have a specific payload and they cannot take more weight than what they are supposed to, which varies from the climatic conditions, landing area etc. As far as the hand baggage is concerned, it must be ensured that the volume of the hand baggage is small enough to fit in the available space in cabin. But, since the volume of my baggage was perfect, it was the weight which was causing trouble. I have a question to all airlines. Say, a person X, who weighs 60 Kgs himself, is carrying 5 kgs excess baggage and then there is another person Y, who weighs 80 Kgs himself, but carrying no excess baggage. What is the logic of charging X, the excess baggage fare when the overall weight that he contributes towards the payload of the aircraft is lesser than what Y contributes?

Puzzling! Isnt it? I feel, they must give a baggage limit, which is inclusive of the travelers weight. That’s fair and logical.

Now, after a while, I was just looking at the check in counter and I realized to my horror that there are many passengers moving out of the check in counter with hand baggage far exceeding even the authorized size, seeming far heavier than the 10kgs. I enquired a couple of them, did they have to pay any excess baggage for which they replied in negative. And then I realized, that the queue is very long and the departure time is closing in and that’s why there is hardly any check of the hand baggage. So next time when I am in doubt about my baggage weight, then I will check in late and leave no time for the clerk to think about my hand baggage. An Idle Mind is Devil’s workshop!!


Anonymous said...

good one Karthik! It is really interesting to see how differential rules are being applied to people!

It sometimes helps to strike a friendly conversation as we are checking in; some of them feel awkward to ask a 'friend' to put the carry on on the scale...unlike the west!

The Soul Doctor said...


Welcome back after a long haitus.

It does help to ask others. But i was travelling far and i needed to carry the hand baggage as it many things i needed for a 14 hrs stay in dubai airport!! I was helpless in this case.

Hope things are fine with your research.

exasparater said...

hmmm! nice experience....

just kidding!!

Shashank said...

well although a hilarious thought...still makes one think!
i mean because ppl are coming late they are allowed more baggage and timely ppl pay a price sounds like somthing from anti-world to me.

rather than calculating baggage and individual weight together, one can charge the overweight ppl xtra ;-) this way atleast VLCC will gain more money. are the airways listening??

Shanti said...

not a bad idea Shashank but now tat wld b an extra burden to the passengers,jus imagine the extra time u need to spend in the airport jus to tell them how much u weigh....

The Soul Doctor said...

@ Shashank.

Firstly, I must say that I was on the wrong side. But just i was wondering how people got away unfairly!

Does someone close to you run a VLCC centre? And just imagine, if this rule come into effect, people would be very careful about their health and this alone can bring down obesity by 50%!!

@ Shanti

it wouldnt take much time at all. Al you have to do is to stand on the wieghing machine along with your baggage!!

But the system would be called unfair because some people are genetically overwieght!! you cant make people pay for nature's idiosynchrocies. May be thats why this concept has never been introduced!

Thanks for stopping by!