This News.com story says that travellers are being left confused by different carry-on luggage policies across airlines, and have been urged to closely read the individual allowances. Women's handbags are now being weighed at some check-in hot spots and when overweight hefty fees are applied.
And its not just carry-on luggage either, one passenger departing Seattle was so enraged by all this that he simply left his bags at the airport and got on the flight figuring it was cheaper to buy what he needed at his destination. The entire airport was closed when these unaccompanied bags were found. All flights got delayed for hours. There was no legal recourse in which the passenger could be charged.
The 7-10 ratio is a puzzle to most of us. Most airlines allow 10g in total, that is both the baggage and carry-on under 10g together. Some only allow 7. It all depends on airline policies.
I was caught out in Auckland airport in March when coming across from the Gold Coast to Auckland on Virgin – Air New Zealand shared international flight where 10g for carry-on was permissible. I was unaware that Air New Zealand domestic from Auckland to Christchurch only allowed 7g – I ended up paying $60 for that 3g extra.
How it came about
I can recall innumerable domestic flights within Australia where so many passengers, mainly young men and young women, bought into the flight cabin their large gym bags which were considerably larger than any purchasable wheelie executive bag.
These oversized gym bags were pushed and shoved and squeezed into the upper lockers leaving only limited space for other paying passengers and I thought that the day will come when all this will necessarily be bought to book.
Sure enough the daggers came out (as it were). Some airlines subsequently provided self check-in kiosks and they can go to the gate without their cabin bags being weighed, but may be pulled up by staff if they appear to be carrying too much.
In any domestic airline check-in now one might be pulled up for a weight check. I have seen some remove clothing and put those clothing items on to reduce the weight to an acceptable level. Once on the aircraft, those clothing items are taken off and re-stowed. The system can certainly be manipulated.
My wife and I have developed new strategies when on mission travel which is not irregular. When travelling to Laguna Quays Respite (Brisbane to Proserpine) we take full baggage as we undertake a host of tasks when there in maintenance and the like.
Any other travel if at all possible it is carry-on. That means a small executive wheelies bag. We have been on interstate Country Town Tours where we've learnt to reduce our clothing input to a minimum and wear heavier items. Delma also carries a hand bag and sometimes a light cloth bag for a book and two magazines.
I either take a similar wheelie executive bag or a shoulder strap bag along with a brief case which houses my lap top. In one airline terminal our entire bags were weighed and the helpful air line staffer suggested I put a couple of items from the executive bag into my brief case as that airline's policy was 7g and 3g as carry-on luggage rules. That worked.
The News.com article detailed a Melbourne woman Yvonne Nicolas was shocked to be charged $82.50 in excess baggage fees - more than the cost of her flight - after Tiger said her handbag and suitcase were 5kg over the limit.
"Most people may not check what their handbag weighs," she said. "Mine just had a purse, make-up kit, glasses case, an umbrella and gloves. It was certainly not a big bag that many women carry.
Another woman, Robynne Jeisman was also surprised when her handbag was weighed at Melbourne Airport, with her total baggage coming to 8.5kg. This News.com article has only scratched the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds are being caught out every day and coughing up big dollars.
It pays to do your homework. Our immediate family members (and grand children) discovered it was cheaper to fly Qantas Sydney-Gold Coast-Sydney where baggage was included in the price.
Many missionaries and those travelling in Christian ministry have developed strategies to reduce such costs like baggage charges and payments. We have saved $250 this year alone in purchasing airline tickets through direct bank payment. In mission, every cent counts.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html