Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


Airlines look at your baggage and see only one thing: lucre.

They realize that you need certain things when you travel, and they get excited at the thought of being able to charge you a fee for every one of those things, if they can.

$25 here, $25 back. Some of them must wonder why they didn't think of this many years ago.

But then there's Condor Airlines.

This German company decided that a little give might create something that few airlines seem to care about these days: goodwill for their brand.

So, as Publishing Perspectives reported, they got together with Vorsicht! Buch, a marketing initiative from the German publishing and bookselling industries, to create stickers.

These read "Buch an Bord." Or, for those with no German and little imagination: "Book on Board."

If you put them on your bags, the airline will give you an extra 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of luggage allowance because you've been wise enough to bring a book with you to read.

Yes, an airline that actually rewards you for your intelligence, rather than punishes you for flying with your own children--which quite a few do.

Sadly, this promotion only lasts through the vacation period.

To my life-addled heart, however, it offers a spirit of understanding that so few airlines are adorned with these days.

Perhaps you'll tell me, because you're so wise, that you take all your vacation books on your Kindle.

I will bow to your wisdom and mutter that there's still nothing like a real book, with a real-book smell, real-book type, and real-book substance.

I will also mutter that, should your Kindle suddenly be out of books, I wish you luck with the local Wi-Fi wherever you happen to be going.

But no, this is more than that.

How many times have you been at the airport, put your bag onto a scale, and been told by an officious, miserable airline employee that you're two pounds too heavy?

They muse that you could take those two pounds out and put it in your hand luggage.

This comes two breaths before they say: "But if your hand luggage is suddenly too big to fit into this helpful frame that we give you to gauge your hand luggage, you'll have to just throw some things in the trash."

And you fear that the minute you've checked in, they'll peek into the trash in case you've had to toss away a Tolstoy or some very fine Swiss chocolate.

The mere thought that an airline would encourage you to bring a little more is strangely, bizarrely uplifting.

But wait.

What if you just put one of those stickers on, don't have a book, and instead shove a little cognac in your case?

Will you be caught and disciplined? Will the cognac be confiscated?

Or could it be that an extra couple of pounds in your luggage actually makes no difference to an airplane's ability to fly at all?

It was just a wheeze to squeeze more money out of you, wasn't it?