A few days ago I flew with easyJet between London and Barcelona. During the check-in I experienced something that made me think about how our lives are dominated by rules and regulations at the cost of common sense.
The staff at the check-in informed me that my bag was too heavy — 21.6 kilos — 1.6 kilos above the weight limit. Instead of charging me right away the staff asked me if I could move something from my check-in luggage to my carry-on bag.
”A kilo and a half?” I asked and thought about my carry-on backpack which was rather full, containing among other a laptop, three 500+ page novels, a manuscript of a short-story collection, e-reader, notebook, two DVDs, a scarf and some more small items.
”Actually, you only need to transfer about 700 grams to the carry-on,” the staff answered. ”If your check-in luggage is 20.9 kilos we do not charge you the 10 pound cost of a kilo of overweight.”
Since transferring 700 grams sounded slightly more doable than transferring a kilo and a half, I stuffed some chargers and a couple of shirts into my carry-on backpack. The result was a check-in luggage weighting less than 21 kilos, all rules were complied with and everybody profited.
Or not. After this exchange, I had to carry a heavier backpack around the airport. This same backpack took more space in the overhead compartments of the airplane’s cabin — space that is normally a sparse resource.
From my standpoint, both parties lost in this exchange. I carried a heavier burden on my back and the airline had less space in the cabin, risking delays due to a complication of the baggage rearranging Tetris game that is usually played while boarding the aircraft.
My conclusion is thus that maybe it would have been better for both parties if the staff had been allowed to use their common sense instead of strictly following the company rules and regulations. Since the intention was not to charge me for the overweight it would have made sense for the company to turn a blind eye to the slightly overweight check-in luggage rather than transferring the weight and volume to my carry-on luggage.