The plane truth

We were on a plane this morning. In an exit row. I am constantly astounded by their ready availability. Don’t people ask for them? Other than me? That’s all you have to do… ask when checking in.

I’m also struck by a couple of other things about the airline industry that I’m going to record for posterity’s sake. The new $10 fee for luggage (because that’s what it is – it’s not a $10 discount for not having luggage) is surely an incentive for people to fill up the previously under used overhead storage areas. They are chockers now. They’re full of baggage from people avoiding the penalty by stuffing everything into slightly oversized backpacks and sneaking them past the check in people. It does nothing for the net weight of the plane – all it does is reduce the need for baggage handling at the other end, and makes check in less labour intensive.

Secondly, or perhaps thirdly, planes are yet to catch up with the obesity epidemic. This may not be a new thing – particularly when applied to the size of the seats and charging fat people proportionately, or on some sort of pro-fata rate. But there are some serious design and safety flaws with the emergency exits. I hadn’t noticed before Robyn pointed it out – but there’s no way a fat person is squeezing through one of those holes without a large degree of lubrication unless their flesh is particularly malleable.

So there you have it. Reflections born of a 5am awakening and a 6am departure.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

6 thoughts on “The plane truth”

  1. THat $10 luggage “fee” isn’t a blanket fee over all airlines.

    Jetstar Light is hand luggage only unless you pay your $10. But if you buy a normal JetStar ticket it includes luggage (last I checked… that could have changed.)

    And Virgin Blue and Qantas, I’m sure, automatically include luggage in their ticket prices…

    Ooooh, and no, planes *are* catching up with the obesity epidemic. In some aspects. I’ve been reading articles about airlines which have, or are considering, forcing obese people to buy two seats.

    Large HOLES, Nathan, not WHOLES.

    1. It is a $10 penalty for having luggage – the same way that “early bird discounts” are just a more palatable way to charge late fees and an incentive for early bookings.

      I believe I pointed out they are catching up – “particularly when applied to the size of the seats and charging fat people proportionately, or on some sort of pro-fata rate” – there’s an airline looking to charge fat people for overhanging baggage – as in fat that hangs over the handles. I read that somewhere last week.

      You do get one point though for spotting the typo. Not sure it needed to be shouted though.

  2. I’m not sure I agree. With either or you.

    Only Qantas include luggage as part of their fares. Virgin and Jetstar both charge it separately, I think Virgin charge $8 and Jetstar $10. Those figures could be wrong, that’s off the top of my head, but I have booked flights with all three airlines since they brought in this new charge.

    I think it is a discount and a fee at the same time. The standard Virgin flight from Townsville to Brisbane was $149. It’s now $139, if you don’t have luggage. But, I would think that most people do have luggage. The luggage carousel when I flew Virgin didn’t seem any less busy than it used to. I’m heading down Brisbane with Mum in a few weeks time, and only she has booked a luggage, because we don’t need 69kg of luggage for a three day trip. So that’s actually a saving of $40 for me to pack lightly. Works for me.

    The thing that gets my goat is the credit card fee for booking on line. Shouldn’t it be one fee per transaction, not per passenger per flight?

  3. The drop in ticket prices is more likely due to the drop in jet fuel prices corresponding to the general drop in fuel prices – this was just a chance to essentially keep ticket prices the same by essentially introducing a new charge for a pre-existing service.

  4. I second the credit card charge complaint. Even more blatant profiteering(sp?) than usual. They should be saving money on staff etc by having an electronic system do it for them. But then to make sure they get maximum profit by charging per passenger is rediculous.

    The door size is all about safety it’s if there’s any trouble on a plane and the door falls off at altitude just make sure there’s a fat person you can push in first to plug the hole and they’ll be a hero and save the day so everyone will be happy.

  5. I know this is an old discussion, but I just remembered today that the reason we flew to Brisbane last Christmas was because it was cheaper than driving because fuel was so expensive, and the new baggage charges had been in for a while already at that stage.

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