One suitcase only, please

January 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Attention travellers. Qantas is introducing valuable new customer service enhancements to its baggage check in system.

Currently, economy class flyers face a weight limit of 23 kilograms on their baggage, with the possibility of being slugged $10 a kilo for extra weight, if the check in staff don’t like the look of you. It doesn’t matter what you do with your 23 kilograms.

There is also a rule about how big your bag can be. In theory, your suitcase’s combined length, width and depth can only total 140cm. In practise I have not seen this enforced. If they did, passengers would be limited to a suitcase measuring 60cm x 50cm x 30cm. That’s a pretty small suitcase. I have one. I can get it in the overhead locker.

Alternatively, you could always travel with a much larger (100cm x 40cm) piece of cardboard.

Now all that is about to change. Now the system cares about weight and volume and (drumroll) QUANTITY.

Meaning that if I was, say…

A furrie*.

And I was transporting three small suitcases, each containing a four-kilogram animal suit, under the previous system that wouldn’t cost me anything. The system didn’t care about volume, only weight. But under the new system each bag after the first costs an additional $30. Thirty dollars for the persian cat, sixty dollars for the grizzly bear, ninety dollars for the french poodle and so on.

And don’t think you can mince and purr your way around the ground staff. Because a computer has been brought in and the computer will say Oh No You Don’t.

It makes sense really. A baggage handler can only steal one bag at a time. Possibly two, assuming he has two arms. Because he is a thickset man, the weight of each bag means little to him other than higher resale value. But it takes three times as long to take six suitcases off the automated baggage handling system and put them in your mate’s truck than it does to take two. And time is money, friends. And Qantas loves money. Your money.

Good luck with your packing.

By the way, this new system commences on 1 June. In the meantime, I am heading out to buy the biggest suitcase I can find, and a new wardrobe made entirely of feathers.

Bon voyage.


* I am not a furrie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


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