Fat people in the air, luggage and duty free [UPDATED, 29.07.2005]

Following on from my other post about getting on planes… What are we supposed to do about other problems that afflict flying, namely luggage allocations, overweight passengers, and duty free?

OK, the issue of luggage… I have been penalised for having luggage fractionally over the weight limit for cabin baggage – both for the 10kg for Ryanair and 7/8kg for other airlines. The issue here is not actually the weight – the limits in the overhead bins would allow at least 13kg per person. The problem is people who have a suitcase, handbag, shopping bag etc. What should be done about these people? This means the overhead bins are full to bursting on almost every Ryanair flight.

And then there is the issue of fat passengers. If luggage weights are restricted, then why not do the same for passengers? As has been recently reported, Americans are on average 10lbs (4.5kg) heavier today than in 1990, and this means gallons more fuel are needed. Have a look at the press article here. The solution could be a body-mass-index calculation for total weight allocation… A pure weight-price ratio would discriminate against tall people, and certain medical exceptions should apply. But in principle, as a slim flyer I should be allowed more leniency than an overweight flyer, who would anyway be unpleasantly wide for anyone sat next to them in economy class!

Last but not least: security and duty free. Has the absurdity of confiscating nail scissors or tea spoons from hand luggage ever occurred to you when going through the security checks at airports? Especially odd that once on the other side, you can purchase all kinds of far more dangerous objects – like glass bottles of wine (very dangerous when broken!) I just wonder whether the economic concerns of the airports are winning over security concerns there?

[UPDATED]
Seems that the Swedes are also getting heavier, but also taller… And the weight changes are not so significant. Have a look at this from The Local.

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