Shrinking Airline Seats and Baggage Allowances
Is it me, or are airline seats constantly shrinking?
I just came back from two weeks in the Philippines, and flying Emirates from Dubai reminded me of just how small airplane seats have become (or conversely just how big my own ass has become!)
At six feet, four inches, I always ask for bulkhead or emergency exit row seat for the extra legroom. The problem with those seats, as I discovered to my chagrin a few years ago, is that their armrests are unmovable, unlike the armrests in other seats. Not only that, but with all of the extra entertainment controls crap they put into the armrests nowadays, well, you do have to be as thin as supermodel Kate Moss to fit in those seats and to feel even remotely comfortable.
Luckily for me, I was upgraded to Business class from Dubai to Manila as Emirates had overbooked Economy class. A hearty thanks to the kind Mr. Jovy of Emirates in Jeddah who called me up before my flights and asked if he could move me to a seat with more legroom.
I was surprised to get this call, but I guess it is one of the perks of being an extremely minor media star. Anyways, thanks a million Jovy for the upgrade, I really enjoyed the bubbly and the Godiva chocolates!
But returning to those pesky shrinking seats. Even in Business class, which is always flogged as offering the ultimate luxury to haggard businessmen, I found my chunky thighs battling for space with yet another overstuffed armrest. “Yikes, caramba!!” I thought to myself. “I barely fit in a Business class seat! This is ridiculous!”
And in this age of spiraling jet fuel costs, airlines are not only shrinking all of their seats, they’re also cracking down hard on excess baggage.
As any OFW worth his salt well knows, flying out of Saudi most Economy passengers going to Asia have been routinely allowed 35 kilos of checked luggage, even if their tickets clearly state 20 kilos only. To my horror, that practice is not being honored in Manila, where I had a standoff with the check-in agent who insisted I was allowed only 20 kilos. The scale glowed back at me, its green numbers showing that I had 27.5 kilos in my check-in suitcase.
“You’re going to have to pay for at least two and half kilos of your excess weight,” the tiny, but friendly, woman told me.
“I can’t. Emirates didn’t tell us in Saudi that we were allowed only 20 kilos from Manila. Let me talk to your manager,” I said.
To cut a long story short, I was I allowed the extra weight by the airport manager who clearly wasn’t in a mood for a standoff, but had to transfer 1 kilo of pasulubongs (souvenirs) from my overweight handcarried baggage to my already overweight checked bag.
The moral of this tale? Pack light, extra light. Don’t buy too many books at your holiday destination, and pray that oil prices come down soon so that airlines won’t be so ruthless in stopping passengers from carrying back all of their stuff from a holiday.