German Airline Allows Passengers to Fly with Extra Books

The Buch an Bord scheme permits one more kg of carry-on weight for books

A stack of books sporting stylish shades

You really don’t want to pay the extra luggage fee. None of us want that, but you especially. It’s summer and hot and you’re sweating at the airport. You’re one pound over the carry-on limit, and now you must expose the innards of your hand luggage to what feels like the unforgiving eyes of the entire world while you frantically search for something to take out, to reposition — for something to save you. This is quite the bind. You must make a decision: toss the recently-purchased moisturizer in the trash, or place that new DeLillo hardcover in your brother’s luggage, where it will undoubtedly bend and crease and take on that sweaty gym-shoes smell so vintage-him you won’t have time to explain your grievances to the TSA officer. How cruel.

To avoid this sort of scenario, Vorsicht! Buch (a marketing initiative of the German book trade) has come up with an ingenious plot: the Buch an Bord (Book on Board) campaign. Teaming up with Condor Airlines, the scheme is designed for the holiday season. Essentially, each passenger is allowed an extra kg of carry-on weight so as to be able to fit that recent Man Booker finalist or dystopian YA trilogy in their luggage.

How then to certify that the extra weight allowance will be used specifically for books? According to Alexander Skipis, managing director of the German Booksellers and Publishers Association, “All the 5,000 bookstores in Germany were equipped with the campaign stickers and the bigger part of them are participating.” Once you have the sticker, you are allowed the extra weight. Simple enough.

Perhaps even more importantly, the new offer not only helps passengers at the airport, but it helps better the relationship between local bookstores and new/returning customers.

The most notable downside of this news, however, is that it underscores the absence of American airlines’ bookish concerns. Until we have something like this, I suppose my new DeLillo hardcovers will continue to carry the rancid odor of weeks-long sneaker sweat.

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