THERE can’t be many of us who have never crossed swords with an airline check-in desk over the weight of our luggage.
And suffered the embarrassment of exposing our packed smalls in front of a queue of impatient travellers as we search vainly for a discardable pair of knickers weighing two-and-a-half kilos.
There’s no chance of finding any one item remotely near as heavy, of course – so we either pay the £50 excess or see our hand luggage whisked into the hold along with an arm and a leg.
It’s a painful scenario, as anyone whose purse has experienced the pain of being disarmed and de-legged will testify. Particularly all you wafer-thin ladies who regard a size six as a tent.
Not so long ago, my friend Amy, who tips the scales at around 45-kilos, found herself hunting for those lead knickers after being caught in the ‘your bag’s overweight’ trap.
Her cause lost, she forked out the obligatory 50 quid …and then saw the giant of a man behind her, complete with bushy Brian Blessed beard, sail through check-in in a whisker.
‘‘He must have weighed 25 stone (158 kilos),’’ Amy moaned. ‘‘That’s four times as much as me, yet he didn’t have to pay any extra. It’s so unfair.’’ She has a point. Whilst airlines obviously need to put a lid on the total weight their planes lift off with, the system of treating all passengers as clones does seem innately flawed.
Excess weight equation: Little Amy plus suitcase plus lead knickers (67.5 kilos) = £50; Michelin Man plus suitcase (178 kilos) = No charge.
You have to admit there is something illogical about Michelin Man and a full set of spare tyres being treated identically to a stick insect.
But then, we live in an age of political correctness where it’s taboo to mock the afflicted. Or in this case those who eat all the pies. However, there are parts of the world where flying can be heavy going for the more rotund (you fat burgers, that is).
For instance, my long-time pal Mike Thornton was turfed off an eight-seater plane after he had been checked in for a short flight in the Philipines. Mike, an undertaker whose surname sums up his shape, moved to the Costa Blanca recently to escape the deadful (sorry, dreadful) Manchester weather.
He recalls: ‘’My partner and I had booked for a later flight to Manila but when we arrived at Caticlan airport, the one before was still on the runway with two seats free.
‘’I needed to go to the loo so my other half checked us and our bags in at the desk.
When I emerged, the check-in clerk took one look at me and, clearly shocked, said to my partner: ‘‘Oh my God! Would you ask him to get on the scales?’ ‘‘I did – and as a result we had to wait for the next flight.’’
Fortunately, Mike saw the funny side. In fact, he admits he corpsed with laughter.
Which made a pleasant change from his day job…