Hacking the Airline’s 7kg Weight Limit

Here’s how to get pass the 7kg carry-on limit.

It was glorious Sunday. I was headed out of Manila, Philippines, after staying for two days to do my visa run and to get a quick glimpse of what the country was like.

I grabbed lunch at a local deli nearby, and called a Uber to the airport. The ride to the airport was a quick twenty minutes and everything was smooth sailing…up until the check-in process.

My backpack was a half a kilo over the 7kg limit and the counter agent who weighed my backpack gave me a declaration: Either throw something in my backpack away (my laptop, my camera gear, or my iPad) to lesson the weight, or check in my backpack.

I agreed to check it in, but only on the grounds that the backpack stay with me. I wasn’t about to risk several thousand dollars worth of electronics being thrown baggage handlers during the transit to cargo. I wanted a compromise, but she refused. I explained that there was no difference having the backpack with me vs. being in cargo but she didn’t care. Her only suggestion was for me to adhere a fragile sticker on my backpack before checking it in.

So I did the next best thing and pretended to make a call.

“Hey man, sorry, but could you come back? My backpack exceeded the weight limit so I leave a few things with you before I board. Okay, so see you at the exit in like 5 minutes? Yeah, okay, no problem. I’ll go now.”

I gestured to the counter agent that I would be back in 5 minutes, before walking across the terminal to the arrival hall. I asked for directions to the closest coin locker and rented one at $3 for the hour. I opened my backpack, stashed my laptop and camera in the locker and proceeded to go back to the ticketing counter for my boarding pass.

As expected, she weighed my bag again. She handed me my boarding pass and I went back to the arrival hall once again, before picking up my laptop and camera and proceeding to the gate.

The flight back, was fantastic.

Oftentimes, the limits that we see are limits that stem from our very own lack of imagination. We fail to see solutions that exist because we’re too focused on the problem itself. Solutions other than those presented to us do exist; if we’re creative and we take the time to think through it, we’ll see those solutions.

About the author

Jon Lee

I travel the world in search of lessons worth sharing. Addicted to culture shock and transparency. Currently working on heeyy and duuck.

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