Qantas – weighty issues.

For the last few years I have prided myself on traveling light. It culminated in a month cycling along the Elbe and Danube rivers with 12 kg of luggage in 2 panniers during September 2013.

Yesterday I presented myself to the Qantas check in desk at Adelaide airport – Qantas Club Business Class – naturally. It is not possible to electronically check in for an international flight, trust me. One cannot avoid personal contact or as it turned out, impersonal contact, when leaving the country.

“Luggage?” was the curt welcome. This should have set alarm bells ringing, but it did not and as the saying goes: “Pride comes before the fall”. With barely repressed smugness I indicated that I was travelling only with carry-on luggage. She peered over the counter, and with a touch of distain in her voice, indicated that it required weighing. So help me God, I did not see this coming. “It’s 2 kg over the limit… ” after a pregnant pause from this menopausal matriarch, she ventured that there may be something I could take out?

The logical response to this, was “take it out and put it where?”

Remember I have NO booked luggage. But I was so dumbfounded by the initial interaction that I stood mute.

As Sir Les Patterson would say “Are you with me?”….

At the risk of insulting the reader, let me take you through this scenerio,

I am flying Business Class, my baggage allowance is 32kg. I approach the check in. I weigh 74kg, I have a TOTAL baggage of 9kg. The man across from me is checking in the Economy queue – he is a card carrying member of McDonalds “Eat 5 get 1 free”. He tips the scales at 112.5 Kg and has hand luggage that will require a block and tackle to lift it into the overhead bins. He sails through.

Perhaps mistaking my stunned silence as indicating intellectual impairment, the Qantas employee attempted to be helpful, possibly mindful of the $ 250 million loss the day before. “Would it be possible to unpack a few item and carry them on my person – that is with me?”

Now I resort to mental mathematics:

Weight analysis before check in:

My weight: 74kg
Hand luggage: 9kg
Total: 83kg

Weight analysis after check in:

My weight: 76kg
Hand luggage: 7kg
Total: 83kg.

Surely this must be the aeronautical equivalent of transubstantiation?

Anyway my brain was scrambled by confusing thoughts such as ” this would not even happen at the Aer Lingus counter” and “this is a concept that NAPLAN sets as a simple test for kindergarten.”

So I simply resigned and the beast booked my hand luggage through as baggage! Little did I know that a similar challenge awaited me in the Land of the Long White Cloud.


It seemed that the only appropriate picture for this blog, was this one!