Working as a baggage handler must be tough. You have to be fit and strong to manage the loads that come off of those conveyor belts. There is always the risk of back strain as you bend and lift. So, anyone going into this line of work must be prepared for its sheer physical demand, right? Hard to say.
Baggage handlers are complaining about the amount of weight they are lifting and are urging the government to lower the limit of airline baggage to 23 kg. I have travelled quite a few times in the past few years. I have seen how the airlines have continually lowered the baggage limit. While I feel for the baggage handlers in terms of their heavy work load, I cannot but wonder that they were not aware of the requirements of their position. Jobs that require heavy lifting usually mention this in their job vacancy adverts. Anyone applying for such vacancies or having been employed in such positions should have full medical clearance before undertaking the job.
Within the last five years, airlines have reduced their limits on the size and weight of checked baggage. It is currently at 32 kg. I will qualify this and say that a very few will accept baggage weighing up to 99lbs for an additional fee. Beyond that, the baggage needs to be sent as cargo or freight. While many airlines allow one, at most two, free checked baggage (within weight restrictions), some charge for every checked baggage. In addition, those travelling economy class are always restricted to a weight of 23 kg for their free checked baggage, with a maximum weight of 32 kg for an additional charge.
Considering that most of us travel economy class, our restriction is already at the limit these baggage handlers are asking for. Yes, some will choose to pay an additional fee for heavier baggage because it is necessary, but certainly not most, and definitely not all. There are fewer bags at the upper limit and more at the lower limit of weight. However, if a baggage handler cannot adequately lift the heavy bags, are they not allowed to give each other a hand?
Travellers are already asked to pay a lot for bringing along their baggage. If the weight limit is reduced, it will only mean that travellers will then pack more bags and a little less in each. Will that solve the problem? Not really. Instead of one bag at 32 kg, they might pack two bags at 23 kg. Of course, the airline may impose limits to the number of bags in order to control the weight of the overall flight. But if the weight of the overall flight remains the same and baggage weights are lowered, it will mean that there will be more bags.
It is unfair to continually put restrictions on what can be taken on flights. Consumers are being hit by various costs of travel and adding one more restriction will only make flying more frustrating. Given the number of lost luggage each year, flyers are already reluctant to entrust their bags to airlines. I may have thought that washing machines were responsible for the lost luggage, now I wonder if baggage handlers, unable to lift a heavy bag, have thrown some away.