There was nothing noteworthy about the weather the day of that flight. The wind was light. Temperature was in the 80s. Visibility unlimited. My wife and I looked forward to an uneventful flight.
About 20 minutes before flight time, the passengers who would be on the flight with us began to show up. The first three two women and a man - were absolutely enormous individuals. On top of that, one of the women was pregnant; the other had a small child in her arms. Between them, I am sure they weighed in excess of 700 pounds. And that was not counting the suitcases and carry-on bags they had in their possession. The way the counter people strained to lift them, I guessed the checked bags alone to weigh about 200 pounds. Add 50 pounds for the weight of the baby and all the stuff they had in their hands.
I glanced at my wife, who immediately caught my mood. I weigh about 180, my wife 130. We had about 60 pounds of luggage between us. It didn't take a genius to figure we were already well over a half ton of human body and baggage, and that was not counting the weight of the pilot the weight of the fuel we would need to get to Fort Lauderdale and the weight of the two additional passengers that could be crammed into the plane. And what about the luggage those two passengers might be carrying?
I'll admit to being a somewhat nervous flyer. Unfortunately, I'm also an informed one. I have a good idea just how........(continued)