Fat Surcharge

Last updated: January 21, 2012
overweightgetpregnant

Do they really weigh passengers at rural Indonesian airports?

Tony Webber, Economist and Former Qantas EmployeeFormer Qantas chief economist, Dr Tony Webber, has stirred indignation in Australia with calls for a “fat surcharge” to be applied to overweight passengers because they increase costs through higher jet fuel consumption.

However, what caught the author’s attention was this comment:

In different parts of the world, for example in Indonesia, particularly rural Indonesia, they actually weigh the baggage and the passenger at the same time.

Can anyone vouch for this, through personal experience? If so, which airport/airline/destination?

If not, maybe you can list the smaller/remote airports you have visited, so people can be confident where it does not happen.



31 Comments on Fat Surcharge

Pages: [1] 2 »

  1. avatar Chris Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    To get the ball rolling, I wasn’t weighed at:

    Ambon (Maluku province), flying Batavia Air
    Maumere (East Nusa Tenggara), flying Merpati
    Kupang (East Nusa Tenggara), flying Riau Airlines

  2. avatar Oigal Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Yes they do. However it is normally the smaller charter type airlines. It is not to charge you more but literally to enable then to balance the aircraft load. It’s a regular occurrence and always amusing when they weight the big hulking bule then the 40kg dripping wet Indonesian counterpart.

  3. avatar Chris Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks Oigal,

    Can you please share which airlines/airports/routes you saw it happen?

    Also, my experience is that often Western people bring less baggage (especially carry-on) than their local counterparts. When they weigh the bags and the people together, does it end up about the same?

  4. avatar ET Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I can hear them coming. Passenger fares in accordance with gross weight of body and luggage. An enema before departure will allow for a discount.
    What’s next? Fumigation?

  5. avatar timdog Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve been weighed several times for flights on miniscule Merpati planes rattling around NTT. Definitely been weighed in Kupang a couple of times for flights to places like Alor, Sabu etc.

    Obviously, as Oigal says, this for balancing purposes, and they certainly don’t do it for the larger planes.

    I flew for the first time on one of Wings’ new twin props the other day, and was very impressed. It was a comfy ride on what was a rather rough day, and the plane was nice (too big to need to weigh passengers). I was certainly less scared than I used to be on their ancient MDs in the “Fly Is Cheap” days. Most of them seem to be lying dead outside the old terminal at Juanda now.

    I like seeing the dead aeroplanes which dot Indonesia’s major airports. There’s a few weird and wonderful things at Jakarta, and I just love the Merpati graveyard at the western end of the Juanda runway (though i wish they hadn’t painted the tail fins white a couple of years back). And the ghosts of airlines past are good too – there’s a Bouraq carcass at Surabaya and another at Jakarta. The first flight I ever took into Indonesia was on Bouraq, and go it was awful.

    Will these planes just sit there forever? Is someone still paying parking fees for them? Are they still technically assets of the defunct companies? Does someone think they might fly again?

    In the little town of Ruteng in Flores there the decaying carcass of a little Merpati twin-prop (of the kind they +do+ weigh you for) in a field, miles from the airport. I’d love to know how it got there…

  6. avatar Oigal Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Hi Chris happens at Balikpapan every day, take a look at any of the smaller operators. I cannot recall the actual airlines things like Berau Air etc. They weigh everything but again it’s not for charging but balance. We are talking the 10 to 26 seaters and the like, CASA planes etc.

  7. avatar ET Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    timdog

    “Will these planes just sit there forever? Is someone still paying parking fees for them? Are they still technically assets of the defunct companies? Does someone think they might fly again?”

    They could actually bring them all together to a boneyard and make a museum out of it like what’s been done in the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona. This way they could still make money out of these carcasses. Kids would love it and grown-ups also, especially in a country where a majority will never come closer to an airplane than one that flies over their heads.

  8. avatar timdog Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    That’s a great idea ET; I was going to suggest nose-diving them all into the Lapindo mud ocean, but that would be a bit silly.

    Problem is, they’d have to get them all to the boneyard in the first place, and I somehow don’t think many of them would get off the ground now. Mind you, Juanda’s half way to being that boneyard already, so they could just keep stacking them up there…

    I really would love to know how that Merpati Cassa ended up in that field in Ruteng…

  9. avatar berlian biru Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Is it my imagination or do airlines in Indonesia tend to seat the bules in the mid-cabin emergency exit seats? It’s something I’ve encountered so often, getting the emergency exit seats without having to ask and finding myself alongside the one or two other bules on board, that I suspect it can’t be a coincidence.

  10. avatar Chris Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Hi guys,

    Nice ideas! To continue the conversation:

    Problem is, they’d have to get them all to the boneyard in the first place, and I somehow don’t think many of them would get off the ground now.

    Surabaya already has a submarine in the middle of town, so anything is possible…

  11. avatar timdog Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 6:37 am

    BB – yes! I’d noticed that too! Do you think it’s cos they think we’d be more reliable in an emergency, of because they are worried about our long legs getting cramped in the regular seats (this is something I find everytime I get in a regular car with an Indonesian – a great deal of demonstrative flapping: ohmygod, am I OK? quick, move the seats to give me more space, how can I even fit in the back passenger seats??? And the car in question is usually a huge great kijiang or something. The last car I owned in the UK was a Ford Fiesta with holes in the floor)…
    Still, very kind of them to be so concerned.

    Chris, I always figured they sailed it down the Kalimas, then hoiked it out with a crane, but maybe if they chopped the wings of the planes they could do a similar thing…

  12. avatar Oigal Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 7:05 am

    It would seem to be the default position for a westerner. Last time I was in Banjar Masin (a very interesting town, with a every exciting underbelly..but that’s another story).

    I was booking onto Sriwijaya in a pretty ‘manual’ airport and the Sheila behind the counter looks up, calls out ‘bule’ and the girl next to her hands her a pre-printed exit row ticket.

    Now they may just be being nice and allowing the extra leg room or the cynic in me thinks perhaps its an acknowledgment that Indonesians have yet to master getting off and elevators yet alone being left in control of an exit door.:-)

  13. avatar ET Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 8:41 am

    “Chris, I always figured they sailed it down the Kalimas, then hoiked it out with a crane, but maybe if they chopped the wings of the planes they could do a similar thing…

    In India there is a guy – I forgot where it was – who bought a scrapped airplane, chopped of the wings and put it in his backyard. Now he organizes fake flights for the poor who will probably never leave terra firma for real, complete with check-in, security check, boarding procedure, safety demonstration, the whole caboodle There is a hostess distributing drinks and snacks, he even has a sound system installed to mimic the roar of the engines. Everything looks real except of course for the feeling of take-off and landing. After an hour or so the ‘passengers’ get off the plane, delighted and covered in smiles. Some even have become ‘frequent flyers’.
    Now if he only wouldn’t have had to chop off the wings.

  14. avatar berlian biru Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Kinda confirms my suspicions, it’s either a way of balancing the aircraft by seating all the big bules in the central part of the plane, concern that our big legs won’t fit into the standard seats or as you both say the belief that in the event of an emergency landing the bules will make a dive for the exits and work the equipment appropriately whilst our Indonesian fellow passengers will all be turning on their handphones or trying to walk 17 rows down the plane to retrieve the neatly boxed up rice cooker they spent twenty minutes loading into the overhead locker when they boarded.

    Perhaps a combination of all three.

  15. avatar kopi Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 10:31 am

    BB,

    “whilst our Indonesian fellow passengers will all be turning on their handphones or trying to walk 17 rows down the plane to retrieve the neatly boxed up rice cooker they spent twenty minutes loading into the overhead locker when they boarded”

    life must be very tough and miserable for foreigners who have to struggle on daily basis in Indonesia, you know, dealing with us, shallow Indonesian people and poor facilities everywhere, not to mention all those crazy systems and regulations. Honestly, I admire your courage to live in this madness, and at the same time, I’m sorry that living in Indonesia make most of you (in this forum) being so cynical, grumbler and forget all those politeness and manners that your parents – back in your beautiful-developed worlds – had taught when you were a little boys.

    If life so awful like that, I wonder why – with all of your amazing knowledge, skills, and superiority – you’re still staying in this pathetic country.

  16. avatar Chris Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Hi Timdog,

    There is also the plane on the road to Puncak:

    Any theories on that one?

  17. avatar berlian biru Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 11:03 am

    “Any theories on that one?”

    A Lion Air pilot was trying to get to a party in Puncak?

    http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/01/12/lion-air-pilots-grounded-getting-high.html

  18. avatar ET Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Would this drug problem also be common with those responsible for other means of transportation or is it a typical jet set (pun intended) phenomenon?

  19. avatar agan Says:
    January 14th, 2012 at 4:38 am

    I dunno what you gent look like but the fact that they chose you to sit in the exit row it’s only mean you guys prolly look able bodied, strong and attentive not because you are just bule looking per se, so consider it’s a compliment .

    If you are easily flustered, had one too many bintangs or just simply not willing well then just tell the pretty flight attendants you want to swap seat with more experienced travelers, Its that easy.

    After all, It might end up more beneficial to all passengers and crews should an emergency arise.

    You got Kopi all excited for nothin’ and now please shut the front door! :)

  20. avatar ET Says:
    January 14th, 2012 at 11:08 am

    @ kopi

    I noticed some Indonesians have also very long toes.

  21. avatar Kopi Says:
    January 15th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    ET,

    I noticed some Indonesians have also very long toes.

    I believe they so, just like some other people with different nationalities in this planet. But if you somehow referred it to me based on my previous comment, nah, you took me the wrong way. I didn’t get offended, I was being sympathetic with foreigners in Indonesia who have to deal with us, some shallow Indonesian fellows. In fact, it’s easy to laugh at Indonesian with all these crazy situation. I often do that too, of course. But yeah, there is a difference between laughing at yourself and others laughing at you. Perhaps, too much sunshine and sambal that make some of us have very long toes, while in some continents, winter makes some people’s heart cold that they lost their ability to be sensitive with their jokes. But hey, as Agan said:

    You got Kopi all excited for nothin’

    I must be forget to add “great sense of humor” to this line:

    with all of your amazing knowledge, skills, and superiority

    have a nice day, gentlemen.

  22. avatar ET Says:
    January 15th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Kopi,

    Why complain? The very own word “bule” Indonesians use to designate us can also easily be understood as derogatory. However you’ll seldom find a Caucasian who will be offended. Most just accept it with a smile and a shrug.
    Maybe we are just more used to the heat in our kitchens. It may also be that in overpopulated countries toes get in the way more easily.

  23. avatar berlian biru Says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “If life so awful like that, I wonder why – with all of your amazing knowledge, skills, and superiority – you’re still staying in this pathetic country.”

    Why? Because I absolutely adore this country and the people who live here.

    You want to know what is one of the best features of people in Indonesia? I’ll tell you, their fantastic sense of humour, particularly their ability to laugh at themselves and their own little foibles, a bit like the Irish I find only nicer.

    If I made the comment I made to any of my many Indonesian friends (actually I do every day) they’d laugh and come back with an even funnier observation about po-faced, uptight bules.

    Indonesian people are like that, for the most part they enjoy a good laugh, unlike you. Whingeing doesn’t suit Indonesian people Kopi, leave it to us bules we’re way better at it.

  24. avatar agan Says:
    January 16th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    So we all good now, usually only FOB (fresh off the boat) bule tend to have (cultural) baggage as many as Matahari Hypermarket’s and silly misunderstandings easily arise.

    And now as they have become basi here they act more or less like Romans when in Rome (native Romans like to do whatever they please :) ) so we rub each other’s creases and line up each other’s angles I suppose.

    Yay finally Kopi Susu it is.

  25. avatar BA Says:
    January 24th, 2012 at 10:13 am

    4-6 seater planes flying some of the more obscure routes in eastern Indonesia, like Wamena (Papua) – Lolat, Wamena – Nalca, etc. always bill by the kilo or passenger and luggage. You stand on a scale then you put your gear on a scale. This is a standard for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and other flights.

  26. avatar rockterrigal Says:
    February 22nd, 2012 at 11:27 am

    we were weighe at labuan bajo on an aviastar flight to denpasar in 2011. i didn’t know why but there was no charges involved for us or anyone else on that flight.

    i was happy as the scale showed that i had lost some weight

  27. avatar Asri Says:
    February 22nd, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    “i was happy as the scale showed that i had lost some weight”

    hehehe, me too if it was me :P

  28. avatar Roslyn Elkington Says:
    March 8th, 2012 at 9:41 am

    In Tonga they definitely weigh each passenger with their hand luggage in order to distribute the weight (which can be considerable in some
    Cases!) evenly in the small plane. They don’t charge you extra unless u carry excess hand luggage though, I think. It’s Chathams airlines which is a nz airline servicing all of tongA and it’s alwys
    Been te prActice. . I have Photo of myself on the scales there! Secondly in bali, I know that the local truck in the Kintamani area weighs passengers before and after their trip to the markets and charges them accordingly. Hence I guess u send the skinniest family
    Member to buy dehydrated food?! I can also get the details to verify that location. Haven’t flown domestically though.
    It is a question though – in a small tour group I led to Indonesia recently, because of ther limited seats in te tour minivan, the two larger members ALWAYS got the front seat as it was biggest and also had the best views and safe seatbelt. Others were squashed and less able to see or be
    Safe. Normally you’d rotate having the
    Best seat but this was taken out of everyone’s control. Similarly on
    My flight over to Tonga, 1/4 of my personal space for legs, armrest, tray movement, direction I had to lean was all taken by the person next to me who required extra. I didn’t say anything or
    Really mind, but I did arrive tired due
    To much less sleep than previous trips. I see this
    Becoming a ‘larger’ issue All te time in different unexpected ways.

  29. avatar asri Says:
    March 13th, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Last week I went to Sumbawa (West Nusa Tenggara) from Lombok by Trans Nusa, and no weighed to passengers, also from Sumbawa to Bima. The maximum baggage capacity is 15 kg. But its flights (at least during last week, everyday) always delayed (averagely about one hour) due to the bad weather. Surprisingly – in my opinion – the crews on board are more professional than those of, let’s say, Lion’s…

  30. avatar Chris Says:
    November 24th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    On Susi Air’s website, you now have to say your weight when booking the ticket.

    Susi Air specialises in flights to small, regional airports; most of their planes are CESSNA C208B CARAVAN and have a capacity of 12 passengers. Baggage allowance is 10kg and excess baggage is Rp15 000 per kg.

Pages: [1] 2 »

Comment on Fat Surcharge

Copyright Mau Ke Mana 2010-14
Terms & Conditions