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Baggage Limits

Posted by anandrr on May 26, 2008


Curious incident on my flight back from SF to Bangalore. When I got to the airport and checked in, I was told that the baggage limits had changed from 32 kg free allowance per item to 23 kg free allowance. You could still check 2 bags in as always. If it’s more than that, she told me I’d have to pay. Now as it happened I did have a little more than that, and as it happened they also deemed my carry on heavier than allowed so there was some repacking required to make sure all my bags were under the wire (or close enough). Of course this got me thinking about why Singapore airlines would lower the baggage limits for checked baggage. The immediate response is to liken it to the domestic carriers in the US charging for any checked baggage let alone excess weight. But somehow that doesn’t pass muster. Surely international travel is a much higher margin business than domestic travel. There are after all no Southwests and JetBlues to contend with in international travel. In fact, it is not even clear that this move would get them much additional revenues. 50kg is still a lot of stuff, it’s unlikely that most people carry much more than 50kg. What’s more, while there might be an immediate revenue benefit by way of catching unknowing people in the act of transporting too much stuff across international borders, eventually the gig is up and travellers will just adjust and carry less stuff. Essentially what Singapore is forcing people to do is carry less stuff. But even that doesn’t pass muster. How many people used to max out at 64kg anyway? Indeed, it is probably true that most people don’t carry much more than 50kg. 50kg is after all a LOT of stuff. So what exactly was the point of the changed limit?

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2 Responses to “Baggage Limits”

  1. PS said

    My other question is — if I weight 50 kilos and another passenger weighs a 100, how come both of us have the same baggage allowance? I think there should be a person+baggage weight limit. Hm?

  2. Shashi said

    I’ve read that reducing passenger baggage allows airlines to carry more freight. This should be true regardless of whether they are domestic or international flights.

    Well, it may not be too far-fetched before airlines start treating people like freight

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