Too much baggage

English: This image is licensed to use under t...

English: This image is licensed to use under the terms outlined below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had only just started secondary school when my headmaster once overheard me calling our needlework teacher, Mrs Morrison, a nazi. She was ridiculously strict and if you were no good at needlework (I was terrible), every lesson came with a guarantee of a good tongue-lashing.

The headmaster was furious and took me up to his office. He asked me if I knew exactly what a nazi was. The sum total of my knowledge of nazis at the time was that they were the bad guys in my commando comics. At the end of the conversation, I knew exactly what nazis were and I also knew that Mrs Morrison had been a resistance fighter in France during the war. I have never been so ashamed.

The luggage police at the front of the queue on budget airlines remind me of Mrs Morrison sometimes. They have their luggage gauge and they are not afraid to use it. Anyone whose bag doesn’t fit or is too heavy is going in the hold for some extortionate fee or is it the luggage – I can never remember. On normal carriers, they seem more relaxed about hand luggage. Some of the cases I’ve seen people take on to a plane are absolutely enormous.

There are lots of good reasons for travelling with hand baggage only. It can save you money on a low-cost airline. You know the airline can’t lose your bag if it’s safely stowed above your head. It saves time at the other end, but the main reason is that collecting luggage is the most mind-numbingly tedious activity known to man.

You hike the mile from the gate into the terminal, then queue up for ages at immigration before arriving in the baggage hall. You walk over to the screens to find out which carousel is yours only to find that your luggage still hasn’t appeared. As you wait for the luggage from your flight to start spewing forth onto the carousel, a rugby scrum of people will build up. No matter how close you stand to the carousel – someone will stand in front of you blocking your view.

If I built an airport, I would offer a service to text the passengers as their luggage appeared. I would also provide a relaxing environment in which to wait. I might even offer food and drink. Entertainment would be laid on for people as they patiently waited to receive their text message. I would also offer a service whereby you could leave a forwarding address and I would courier your luggage to you so you didn’t have to wait.

Everyone would want to fly from my airport. Even Mrs Morrison would be happy.

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