Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
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Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Any Luggage ?

We won't call ourselves 'road warriors', but we do travel a lot. Understandably, when it comes to picking a topic for small-talks during coffee-breaks or luncheons, airlines is the easiest pick. Nobody in our industry seems to mind us rubbishing the airlines. Topics on cancellations, delays, missing luggage or double-booked seat are always popular.

One time the hottest topic was the Southwest Airlines policy concerning overweight travelers. If you don't know yet, Southwest Airlines requires overweight or obese passengers who take up all of part of two airplane seats to purchase two tickets [1].

One colleague said "Actually, the fairest scheme would be to weigh the passengers and then calculate the ticket price based on their weight..."

This, of course, drew protests from the IA heavyweights.
"That's not fair," one said. "That's discriminating against the plus-sized people..."

We of course respect that opinion. Some says genetic factors may have an effect in causing people to be vertically-challenged [2]. Not anybody's fault if some of us are heavier than others.

But let's have a hypothetical experiment:

We picked the lightest and the heaviest person in our group:
The smallest is a nice lady, let's call her S, who is 52 kg in weight. The heaviest, a charming gentleman, call him B, is 76 kg.

Say S and B are both going to fly on the same airline. We fly with Singapore Airlines quite frequently, so let's pick that as an example.
If you fly business-class on Singapore Airlines, you get 30 kg baggage allowance. If you exceed 30 kg, you pay more [3].

B checks-in with exactly 30 kg of luggage. Total weight of him plus the luggage: 76 + 30 = 106 kg.

S checks-in with 54 kg of luggage. Total weight of her plus the luggage: 52 + 54 = 106 kg.

Same total weight. But S is slapped with a hefty fee because her luggage is 24 kg overweight...

Is that fair?

[1] - Southwest Airlines' policy concerning overweight travelers
[2] CDC - Overweight and Obesity: Contributing Factors
[3] - Baggage Allowance


Anonymous Anonymous said...


And the skinny people never complain...

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's because they are lucky to be skinny..

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course fair, lugage is lugage and passenger is passenger. don't mix them.

if you change the rule based on the total weight of passenger plus lugage weight, then you'll got a problem when the passengers are children or babies. assuming that the total weight allowed is 106kg. babi with 5 kg weight then can have lugage of 101kg. unfair for the baby...

4:24 AM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Good point.
But then again, Kids pay less than adult, although they occupy one seat.
Because they are not as heavy..(?)

So because you already pay less, you are not entitled for more luggage allowance...

2:35 PM  
Blogger oigal said...

I will be happy to leave the overweight as they are if we can control the "carry on baggage".

In answer to your question on my site. Its WINGS.


3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, you're right but my point is we can't control the passenger weight. so your example formula will make thing more complicated (In My Opinion).

on the other hand, I believe that, statistically, the passenger weight has a narrow normal distribution. it means that the number of heavyweight and lightweight passenggers are not so dominant and significant compare to the average or "normal" passenger weight.

so, it is fair enough for the minority (mainly the lightweight passengers) accept the maximum lugage weight policy because their distribution is not so dominant.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...


Ah, yes.. People with their carry-ons...

Our formula is more complicated? Yes, of course. Impossible, really.
Can't really ask passengers to jump on a scale at the check-in counter, can we?

If we think the cost of flying an airplane would mainly depend on the distance travelled and the weight carried, the lightweight passengers are currently 'subsidizing' the heavier ones..
But maybe you are right:
The lightweights probably are not so dominant to bother (or complain)...

Agusset, we noticed you have a different blog ? Does it mean you don't use the blogspot one anymore?

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, I guess it's to stop people from over-shopping and brought it in a plane (unfriendly rule for female like me !). And the overweight fee sucks big time indeed.

6:06 PM  
Blogger B-a-r-r-y said...

Have you ever been sitting right next to someone who is a bit overweight in economy class? Especially if his or her seat assignment is the one at the window while yours is the aisle one. Add to that, a minimal travel time of 4 hours. I think you know where I am going with that... I hope what agusset about the passenger weight that has a narrow normal distribution is true everytime I fly.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, this is interesting.

guess what? I used the same argument a couple of times at Schiphol airport when I had excess luggage(s). I told the airline, "But I am not as heavy as those guys (pointing out big tall Dutch guys), so I should be entitled for extra kilos!" The airline staff of course laughed and gave me some free kilos (for the laugh, I think) but that's it!

11:21 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

Yes, we had our share of that experience. Most unpleasant.
One colleague once sat next to a really large man, so large the armrest had to be lifted up for him to fit...
Can you imagine.

Interesting to know that such argument actually works !
We will try it next time.
Thanks for the tip.

1:34 AM  
Blogger perempuan hujan said...

Hehehe.. I've been there.

Couple of years ago when I checked in at an airstrip in Boven Digoel, Papua, the local officer asked me to step on a large scale (you know, the scale people use for weighing sacks of cement, I don't know the name of it), the same one they used for weighing luggage.
"Pardon me?"
"Yes, Ma'am, please step on, we have to weigh you since one passenger with his or her luggage may not exceed 100 kg"
I didn't mean to breach the rule, but couldn't they weigh me in a private room and just write down the result instead of did that in public and cried my weight out to ticketing officer in the other room?

Another time in Wamena, I had already fastened my seat belt when the steward asked me to move to the front seat.
"What's wrong?"
"I'm sorry Ma'am, but since you are a plus-sized you ought to seat at the front. The plane could not take off if the weight of its rear is bigger than its front. That's why our luggage compartment is at the front not the rear."


10:03 PM  
Blogger Indonesia Anonymus said...

perempuan hujan,

You must be kidding..
It did happened to you? This is insane. Who would have thought.
We hope the airline's steward didn't get any broken nose from you...

That's just unthinkable thing to say...

2:48 PM  
Blogger perempuan hujan said...

Well, I was still lucky though, at least compared to my boss.

He once had to go to Pantai Kasuari(Asmat) with one of our plus-sized auditor from HQ but the total weight allowed for passengers was only 150kg (they rent a mission aircraft which model was like the WW II aircraft I saw in "Tora! Tora! Tora!" movie). Anyway, their total weight with luggage turned out to be around 180kg. It took them like 2 hours to select what to bring and what not to.

They went by priority:
1. Both persons
2. The auditing stuff (e.g. files)
3. Personal luggage

The first two important things summed up to be around 150kg. So, did they go without personal luggage to a very remote place (i.e., no department store) for 1 month?

Well, the pilot kindly granted them little "extra" luggage: 3 pieces of underwear for each passenger...

"What a relief" said my boss.. :)

10:21 PM  

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