Carry-On Bags & Surprise Awakenings – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A little while back I took a flight to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. This flight was a few hours long & the airline was using a smaller, narrow-body aircraft for the trip. The flight was quite full & pretty much every passenger boarded with multiple pieces of cabin baggage/hand luggage with many being very heavy. While the cabin crew did their best to make space for all the items, there wasn’t space for everything & plenty of bags needed to be offloaded. This caused the flight to be delayed.

This business of bringing heavy bags or large bags is something I see frequently & it is something I don’t quite understand. Perhaps a better explanation of my confusion is people bringing these items onto the aircraft & then demanding help from the cabin crew since the bags are too heavy for them to lift or the same people getting upset because their bags don’t fit into the storage areas.

Almost all airlines have weight & size restrictions for carry-on bags for very good reasons. If an item is too big to be packed away, it will move around during normal occurrences like take-off, landing & turbulence. Further, in the event of an emergency, the item would pose an obstruction in an evacuation. With regards to the weight, carry-on bags are stored in overhead compartments & these have weight limits themselves. If these compartments are too heavy, they will inadvertently open & things will most likely fall out. Do you really want excessively heavy bags falling on your head?

While you can say it is the airline’s fault for allowing passengers to board with such heavy items, I do believe the lion share of the blame is on the passenger for trying to get away with just a few more kilograms in their backpack. Interesting fact, did you know that chronic back pain & spinal injuries are some of the most common injuries cabin crew experience as a direct result of lifting & moving heavy carry-on bags?

Anyway, let’s get back to the story. So my flight was delayed for about an hour because of this baggage issue.

Eventually, we took off & I tried to get some sleep in. I fell asleep pretty quickly, but the sleep was my usual airplane on/off type of sleep. At some point, I vaguely noticed the lady sitting in front of me was scratching around her seat. I assumed she dropped her cellphone or something so I didn’t pay much attention & dozed off again. The next minute, my heart almost stopped when that same lady grabbed my leg at my calf muscle & lifted up with quite the force. All those unreasonable nightmares you have as a child of being dragged out of your bed by your feet? Yeah, that is what first went through my mind. She quickly let go of my leg & I caught my breath & started laughing loud because, well, that’s my response to everything. I know the experience was startling for me, but imagine how much of a fright the lady must have gotten when whatever she thought she was picking up started moving.

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Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels

7 thoughts on “Carry-On Bags & Surprise Awakenings – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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  1. Oof! That’s quite a story about checked baggage! My Dad flew from California to where my Mum and I are in Calgary to help us out in an emergency. He will be moving to Calgary soon and we thought he could bring some stuff before he moved. No chance of that because Air Canada has reintroduced baggage fees, so my Dad just packed light and hopped on the plane!

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  2. I agree, it’s super annoying when a flight is delayed because people can’t seem to follow simple instructions.
    I was recently on a similar small jet where the problem wasn’t the size of the baggage though, but rather of the passenger. After an hour delay, an airline representative removed a (clearly overweight) passenger from the plane to solve the weight balance issue that was preventing us from departing. I felt bad and really hoped that person was compensated – but I also just wanted to get home by that point!

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  3. Yes, usually the airlines I used in the past, always check your hand luggage for size and weight. It’s the airline’s fault if they let people through… I had a very good laugh about the lady grabbing your leg 🙂

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  4. lol how bizarre. I personally think the airlines are to blame mostly on cabin luggage because its enforced so inconsistently. personally i never have more than the seven kilos, but too often i see that i am in the minority. and they are allowed on no questions asked so often, that it becomes common practice. people in general dont follow rules that are not enforced, or enforced inconsistently. If hand luggage was always checked and weighed, well, it wouldnt be so much of an issue. yes, there would always be that customer who argues etc and that is definitely on the customer, but in general it would gradually become understood that the stated limit IS the limit. and it would save us from getting on board and finding there is no room overheard for a small back packed because of the two large suitcases the guy from seven rows behind us put up there.

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  5. Another very entertaining article Dan, thanks very much.
    The lady grabbing your leg gave me a good laugh. In addition to the carry on luggage….what about those passengers in front of you always wanting to recline your eating tray into your lap!!!

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