Unloading Baggages

"Uh excuse me, can I transfer to that exit row seat?" - i was talking to the stewardess of a PAL Express flight to Tacloban. She pretended to ignore me and quickly took out the life vest from the overhead bin for her demonstration. fine, i've seen it a million times and unless they are going to add cartwheels as part of the routine i zoned out and looked out to the slowly lightening sky outside (flying at 6:00AM from Cebu to Tacloban)

When we finally reached cruising height, I called her attention again and asked if I can transfer to the exit row. at 6 feet tall, my legs get really cramped in tight small spaces (the same thing happens when i wear my pants that fit me five years ago)

she smiled uncertainly, unsure how she's going to answer my question.

"uh sir, the lavatory is at the front..."

"i don't want to go the bathroom, i asked if i can move to the exit row seat."

"uh sir, you can't exit the plane now, we are landing soon..." (she has a point, the flight is twenty minutes max)

"no, i, said, i, want, to, transfer, to, the, exit, row." i mouthed my words ever so slowly and enunciated each syllable to make myself very clear. i didn't realize that the thin air at this altitude can cause brain damage.

"uh.. i know sir, i'm sorry but you see, we have to balance the passengers and distribute the weight to keep the plane stable."


"so you're saying that i'm FAT?"

"no sir! well, you're slightly horizontally challenged." (great, is this the politically correct term for obese?) "... and we have to make sure that we distribute the weight inside the plane to keep it stable."

while she droned on and on about my weight and the critical mass and center of gravity that must be maintained to keep the equilibrium of the plane i had a flashback when i checked in earlier that morning at 4am.

"sir, can you get on the weighing scale?" - i hate overly cheerful attendants. specially at 4 in the morning.

"uh, excuse me? i am not the baggage. in fact, the only thing i have is my laptop. can you seat me by the exit row please."

tick tack and tapping the keyboard, the overly bright attendant looked up and deadpanned: "i'm sorry, but that seat is not available. I'll seat you in 14B aisle." and i am pretty sure i heard her mutter "okay, let me guess... about 200 pounds."

"...and so, that's why you have to stay in your seat sir." she managed to smile and took a step away as she was sure i'd reach out and give her a throttle.

Just in case you haven't taken a PAL Express flight, they use the itsy teeny weeny DHC-8 Q300 plane. well it's small when you talk to a man that's 6 feet tall and tips the scale at 200 lbs.

i sneaked into the window seat beside mine when the stewardess turned away. the next thing i know i heard the intercom announce: "passenger XXXXXXX please vacate seat 14A and move back to 14B."

what the... are they keeping a compass scale on their dashboard that monitor the tilt of the plane?


2:00PM i was checking in the Romualdez Domestic Airport in Tacloban City for my flight to Cebu but this time around I was flying Cebu Pacific. I saw a plane taxi and realized in dismay that they are using the same model as PAL Express. I quickly turned around and scoped the line of passengers and before the attendant can ask me to weigh myself i leaned over and muttered:

"200 lbs, don't argue. I want the exit row seat! Window! and see those two thin ladies behind me? make sure you seat them right across my row."

the lady smiled knowingly and winked at me.

"I'll do that sir."


puss_in_boots said…
Haha! I was just talking to someone last night about how another small-scale domestic airline also weighs their passengers. The clerks manning the check-in counter have a tendency to announce your weight loudly enough for everyone to hear. It can get pretty embarrassing!
And yes, it is also to help distribute weight inside the tiny aircraft :)
Cacho said…
shhhh... it really is embarassing!!!! ha ha ha. it was a funny experience though as most of the provincial flights have been converted into pal express or the go lite version of cebu pacific.

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