Recently, airlines have been cutting back on luggage allowances. Sometimes, even after you’ve weighed and tried to balance your bags, you find yourself still a few kilos overweight. Here are a few tips for the desperate, which was just about all of us on the trip home from Cambridge. (It was a miracle that some of us made it without paying extra.) These tips assume that your carry-on is being weighed too (our limit was about 7kg – 15 lbs.) Maybe one or two of the tips will put a smile on your face.
- Try to be close enough to the weight limit that you don’t immediately raise a flag. Three kilograms over is a lot easier to overlook than six.
- Wear a jacket with nice big pockets. Even if its 100 degrees outside, you’ll need protection from the plane’s air conditioning ;-).
- Put your laptop power pack and other dense items in your jacket pocket for the weigh in; there’s one guaranteed pound right there. (Thanks to Jim Leonard, Tyndale house student for this tip.)
- Calculate which items you are willing to part with if necessary. It’s better to simply throw away that old pair of jeans and a few extra T-shirts than pay the astronomical “over weight” charges. Do the math. If you can replace any item later for say $40, it’s probably not worth paying $200 to hang on to it for this trip. (Thanks again, Jim.)
- Pick your largest book – usually an encyclopedia, theology, etc. – as your “in-hand” reading material. This is the book you carry in your hand as you check in – so it won’t be in any of your bags that are being weighed. I doubt anyone actually verbalize their puzzlement as to why you have brought along an academic lexicon for airplane reading. If traveling in a large group, other friends can hold a few of your largest tomes for you while you check in. This will insure maximum study potential for your long airplane ride. 😉
- If you are traveling in a group, one of your friends may be willing to trade bulk for weight. It takes a village to get all your books home.
- Make sure your bags are leaning/hanging over/touching as much of the check-in counter as possible when you place them on the scale. (Actually, it looks like the scales are now designed to compensate for this.)
- If one check-in attendant is being extremely strict with a few extra kilos. Pull your bags back out of line to “think about what you will get rid of”. Move things around a bit, then try to look for a more sympathetic check-in attendant (or hope that the current attendant gets replaced in the meantime.) This actually happened to a few of us on this last trip.
- Wear your big snow boots and heavy wool coat for check in (see #2 above if it is summer). Nobody who initially made sure your carry-on passed the “does it fit in this square” is going to follow you to the other end of the airport to ask why you are suddenly wearing a T-shirt and slippers or sneakers.
- Okay, so my conscience is starting to bug me. The best option might simply be to do without; see you luggage limit as a way to help you live more simply.
I’d love to hear tricks that other people have tried or thought of. . .