I finally figured out why they put a scale in the bathrooms of hotels.
There is a saying "How do you fit 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag"; I recently read in The New York Times that airlines were complaining about a similar type of problem as they are increasingly having to deal with the issue of how to fit an overweight person in a seat designed to handle a much smaller person. As the airlines struggle to increase capacity by adding more seats and thus increase per-seat revenue, they are now being "squeezed" by the per-seat weight issue. The funny thing is that I read a similar article in the China News while in Beijing, and the airlines were posing a similar complaint that the size of the passenger was "outweighing' the size and comfort planned for each seat, which was increasing the total weight carried for the flight, and discomfort for both the ‘overweight' passenger and the passenger unlucky enough to draw the corresponding seat. So my first thought was that this is why they place a scale in the hotel room bathrooms, the scale is part of an effort to help the traveler manage their personal weight concerns. Maybe?
If you have taken a flight recently you know about the ban on liquids allowed in your carry-on baggage; this recently transitioned from no fluids allowed to where we now have a size and volume restriction. I recently was busy weighing my allotment of liquid toiletries that I could take in my carry-on baggage. This time I had to employ a different instrument, a food scale, to weigh my correct allotment of toothpaste, mouthwash, cologne, and deodorant. I figured that I was not going to wash my hair in the reduced size lavatories so I just packed my shampoo and gels in my checked bags knowing that if my checked bags were lost, the shampoo and related items were the least of my worries. The measurement restriction for your carry-on liquid-based toiletries is that each container must not contain more than 4 ounces (118.3 ml), and that all of the containers must fit into a single clear, zip lock, 1 quart (1 liter) bag. In this case the weight restriction is not an issue, though if you have traveled with a woman it is amazing how much ‘approved' liquids they can get into a single 1 quart (1 liter) bag, maybe this will fall into a weight restriction in the future.
So, as we continue to think about traveling light, we have all contributed by leaving our water bottles at home, or drunk them just before entering the secure area, and in many cases it seems that the airlines have left their water allotment at ‘home' as well. I initially did not think that not being able to bring bottled water on a plane would be a problem, but on a recent flight from New York to Beijing, I really wanted a sip of water to wet my parched lips while I was restricted to the seat reading the latest literature regarding deep vein thrombosis.
Helping with the weight concern of passengers, the USA based airlines have responded by removing food service from flights under 4 hours, okay, they do ‘sell' food that has a nutritional value that is a bit suspect and borders on questionable with regards to the word nutritional. With international flights the food is dependant on your class of service and the airline, but I for one usually do not look forward to fly for the food, maybe the wine, by I digress.
The art of travel is not in packing, as much as it is in selecting the correct piece of luggage to take with you. You have size and weight restrictions by class of service for both carry-on and checked bags; we all know the old axiom "A piece of luggage will be filled in accordance to the space available." Thus, we have to down-size our expectations by selecting the size appropriate piece of luggage, and this coming from someone who owns almost a "one in every size" piece of luggage, but who is always stressing out just before a trip that I do not have the correct size for the upcoming trip. So, the next important piece of luggage will be the special bag that will be able to carry those precious bottles of wine, spirits, juices or other liquid products that you find during your exploring in other countries, and they will have to ‘guarantee' that they will come through the baggage handling process unscathed, but keep in mind that there is a total weight restriction for the pieces of checked baggage so decide carefully when you pick up bottles containing some liquid product. I still think this may be a conspiracy by Duty Free to increase purchases, but I will leave this to someone who is wishing to do a ground-breaking documentary or exposé.
So, now we have a few options as to how to use the scales in a hotel bathroom: along with checking to see if we may have appreciated, a bit too much, all the great food and drink from a location, we can also do a last minute weight check on the luggage, but I have not found any hotel fitness centers that you can take your luggage to for a workout, though this does leave some food for thought.
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