Friday, August 17, 2007

Kuala Lumpur

I had a fairly uneventful flight from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur. However, the checkin before the flight was eventful. Apparently there is fine print on my ticket stating that I only get to take 25 kilograms of luggage with me- some odd reason about being a US citizen with the flight originating from another country. They would let me take more, but at $20 a kilo. It would have been $300 to take my "excess" luggage with me! I wasn't going to pay $300, so the lady told me that I had to ditch everything over 25 kilos- and my carry-on couldn't be more than 7 kilos(and was 10 kilos at that moment). I had about 15 minutes to make it work before they closed the flight checkin. More or less this 15 minutes was spent with me sputtering in disbelief that Malaysian Air wanted $300 to let me take a perfectly normal amount of luggage with me. The ticket counter lady was completely unwavering; she asked me if anyone in town could come by and pick up my excess. Sure, Mom and Dad- but only if they could be at the airport in the next 15 minutes, otherwise the airline would throw my luggage away, being unwilling to hold it for the extra 25 minutes it would take for them to get there. For a moment I thought I was going to be in luck, the man in charge of baggage strolled by and the lady asked him about a ratchetstrap I had on my luggage. She said it couldn't go, I asked her to ask him and he said yes, but she made me take it off anyway. I thought maybe the lenient and reasonable luggage guy would let me take my luggage with me, but he strolled off without further comment. At this point my only option was to ditch what I could not take, so I began sorting. I was planning on wearing as much of the clothes that I was supposed to ditch onto the plane as possible. Once I was mostly done, the lady(who was off elsewhere for a few minutes) came back and quietly told me that I could take it all. I was grateful, surprised, and nonplussed. I had left an urgent voicemail on my parent's cell phone, spread my clothes all over the ticket counter, was almost late for my flight- and the lady that made me do all this just seemed to remember "Oh, wait- it's a 747, a few extra pounds isn't going to kill it- I can let this guy take a normal amount of luggage after all! Good thing I pissed him off mightily before I came to this realization!" So in the end, I have one enormous 28 kilo suitcase, stretched to the limit, and one plastic walmart box half-full with all my stuff inside bouncing around because I took half the stuff out to put it in the other suitcase. That was what the ratchetstrap was on- it probably wouldn't survive baggage handling without it, she planned on putting three pieces of tape over the lid to make it stay shut. I'm sure my stuff would have ended up all over the airport floor if it had been that way- I insisted(much to her annoyance) that it go into one of those giant bags they have for strollers and carseats and stuff.

25 kilos is 55 pounds- every other airline in the world allows 100lbs. I had 83lbs.

To conclude: I am grateful to God that He allowed me to get on the plane with all my stuff. I was definitely praying during that 20-minute period. However, I am also annoyed with Malaysia Air's (frankly stupid) rule and the ticket lady who obviously didn't care too much about the rule anyway, and decided she'd just make me completely screw up my packing before she let me get away with having a normal, fine-at-every-other-airline amount of luggage.

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