The introduction of luggage weight check in the commercial airline industries has got many people wondering why such restriction was introduced at all.
Hundreds of spectators have assumed that the introduction of luggage weight check was a way of circumventing funds into the coffers of the commercial airline industries.
However, could that be the primary reason? If at all is a reason?
Some of the airline companies seem less bothered about the weight of passengers and the weight of carry-on luggage that go on board.
Whether a particular passenger is three times the weight of another, the commercial airlines feel less concerned about it.
If a passenger weighs 50kg more than her daughter, they will both pay same amount of money for tickets, despite the vast difference in weight.
While the introduction of luggage weight check remains mysterious to many, an analysis on an Airbus A320 has yet exacerbated the ratiocination of many people.
The Airbus A320 weighs about 42.6t and the airplane has a maximum takeoff weight of 78t, which implies that it can conveniently accommodate 35.4t of load (passengers and luggage) on board.
If the aircraft can accommodate as much as this, then why would they charge for extra 2-3kg luggage?
Here are three basic reasons it may be why luggage weight limit was introduced:
Luggage handlers needs to carry the weight
On of the reasons is why there are union labour laws that limit the weight of the luggage so the baggage handlers can lift the weight.
And it goes faster to load the airplane if one person easily lift the luggage in rather than having the need to have two persons lift it in.
Which saves money and time.
To keep the plane balance
There have been several cases of fatal air crashes that were caused by failure to manage luggage and place limit on the weight of luggage going on board.
On March 12, 1950, an Avro 689 Tudor V which was transporting rugby fans from Dublin crashed a few meters from Llandow Airport in Cardiff.
According to reports, the aircraft had its undercarriage lowered while approaching the runaway until the aircraft suddenly pitched up and abruptly plunged into the ground.
When investigation was conducted on the probable reason behind the unfortunate incidence, it was gathered that the aircraft was loaded without a limit to the load stocked in.
To ease the takeoff of airplanes
If an airplane is too heavy as at when it is taking off, such airplane may not be necessary able to take off safely in such a way that it would not be able to maintain flight when an engine failure matter arises.
Albeit, if overweight, the airplane could still lift off the ground but might not stay long before it crashes.
Technically, the weights of luggage that usually render an airplane overweight are not always centered within the safe center of gravity of airplanes which results in dragging the center of gravity of planes beyond their aft or forward limits.
This, on the long run, results in loss of control of airplanes shortly after they take off or just at the point of take-off.
Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is the maximum and absolute weight an airplane could have and still takeoff conveniently.
It is the maximum weight at which an airplane can take off from the ground and remain suspended in the air.
This however, if exceeded, automatically results in air accident. As a result of this, airlines try as much as possible to ensure that their airplanes are flown at a weight far lesser than the maximum takeoff weight.
Summarily, one of the reasons luggage weight limit is enforced is to ensure that the aircraft does not lose control after taking off.
To reduce the rate at which fuel is burnt
Another reason behind the enforcement of luggage weight limit is the fuel that is consumed as the airplane moves.
When an airplane takes off and suspends in the air, a whole bunch of air balls collide with the wing of the plane, which results in a form of force known as “lift” as well as “drag”.
For the airplane to move at a constant speed, there would be another force (thrust force) to neutralize the effect of the drag force. However, the weight of the plane is another deal to put into consideration. If the weight of the plane is increased, the lift has to increase.
To achieve this, the plane has to move faster.
This is where the effect of overweight luggage comes into play because a much more force (lift force) would be needed to overcome the effect of drag force by increasing the speed of the plane, thereby resulting into consumption of more fuel.
If more fuel is consumed in the course of the journey, it could lead to abrupt halt of the engine because only the volume of fuel that is needed for the journey (from the start to the destination) is loaded in the engine to avoid overweight.
The total amount of fuel and oil carried on board is determined by the amount of fuel that is needed in order to power the airplane from its point of departure to its destination.
This will also include the fuel that will be consumed as the airplane flies in a holding direction for as long as it would take to go in such direction, the fuel needed to fly to diversion airport as mapped out on the flight’s initial plan.
To generate more income for airline industries
Airline industries have added a reason why luggage weight limit was introduced.
The introduction of luggage weight check has been able to equip airlines with the needed financial requirement to meet up with the skyrocketing price of fuel.
In 2010, Spirit announced that it was going to introduce charges on checked bags and carry-ons, so as to keep the prices of tickets low and more affordable for passengers.
The airline industry explained that it was imposing the new policy because added weight on aircraft results in more gas consumption.
In May 2008, American Airlines introduced charges on all checked bags. In 2017, the 23 largest US airlines generated a total of $4.6b profit in baggage fees.
This has also helped to boost the economy of the aviation ministry of the country by a certain percentage.