Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Baggage Fees&Airports Scales: Regulation Required?  
User currently offlineVfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 4062 posts, RR: 5
Posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3390 times:

Don't get me wrong, I am really not for too much regulation, but as airlines increasingly charge for excess baggage and raise fees for excess baggage more and more, I am wondering if something needs to be done about airport scales - as the "findings" of those scales are the reason why many passengers have to fork out a lot of money in a situation in which they have little time to argue and are faced with the alternative of missing the flight if they do not simply shut up and pay.

To illustrate what I am about - I mentioned this episode in another thread a couple of weeks ago, but something similar has happened to me a couple of times before:

I was recently traveling long-haul with an airline that has (in fact had) a 20kg limt + 3kg discretionary allowance. Flying out my suitcase weighed in at 23kg. I then did some domestic travel with an airline that allowed 25kg. I checked in the very same suitcase a couple of times over a 3 week period, and the very same suitcase would weigh anything between 21.2kg and 24.9kg. As I was allowed 25kg, I did not mind. When checking in for my long-haul return flight, the CSR told me that my suitcase was 25kg (which I am sure it was not) and that I had to take out 5kg if I wanted to avoid being charged (so she did not apply the 3kg discretionary allowance - which is OK as I am not entitled to it). I negotiated 21kg and told her I would take out some stuff. She told me to weigh it at some publicly accessible scale at the far end of the terminal before returning to check-in. I started repacking, taking out just a few pieces that in no way weighed 4kg (a shoetree, a light cotton jumper, a lightweight windbreaker). To get a feeling how much else I needed to take out, I put the suitcase on those scales, and to my surprise I was now already down to 21.2kg. I hauled the suitcase to the check-in counters again, and at another counter it was now 20.8kg...

So much for properly working scales. I was in no mood to make a fuss about it, but it was yet another proof that this whole issue urgently needs to be addressed. If I had not repacked, I would have been charged for 5kg luggage which probaly would have run into a three digit figure as it was a flight from NZ to Europe.

For a lot of businesses where people need to pay according to weight, there must be - by law - calibrated scales. In some countries like Germany there is even an agency that controls those scales regularly, roams around grocery stores etc. and hands out hefty fines for even the most itsy-bitsy aberrance. I am not aware that any such rules apply to airlines / airports. Currently, airport scales are more or less a charter to rob customers. There was an investigation at LGW a while ago that found out 62 out of 321 scales were incorrect to the disadvantage of passengers, in the case of one unidentified airline, even 10 out of 18 scales were incorrect.

Don't misunderstand me, I am quite happy that airlines enforce weight limits. But if they do so, there must be a level playing field (particularly as CSR increasingly are paid bonuses for collecting fees for excess baggage). I am wondering if this issue has been adressed in some countries already.

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2427 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3370 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

It’s likely a question of resources.

In the US, in all states I'm aware of, basically all scales used for commerce (include those used to weigh your baggage), are already licensed by the state, and periodically inspected. Unfortunately the Weights and Measures departments of most states are chronically under-resourced, and inspections of any single scale tends to be relatively infrequent (usually on the order of a couple of years), and even then it's likely that the entire airport gets inspected at once one afternoon every few years. Worse, much of their limited resources goes to places where they have historically gotten many consumer complaints (gas stations, deli counters). Given the limited enforcement of baggage policies by airlines until recently, I'm sure airport baggage scales have simply not been a priority.

At least some types of scales in some states have self-inspection requirements (which are backed up by actual state inspections). I've seen store workers use a calibrated weight on deli counter scales, and my understanding was that that was done every morning. The scale in question even had a built-in "inspection" function, and apparently would shut down if it went too long between inspections.

Requiring something like that might be a better alternative to hoping for additional funding for your local Weights and Measures department...


User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3285 times:



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 1):
I'm sure airport baggage scales have simply not been a priority.

Scales in airports are not a priority because they don't have to be too accurate.

Scales in grocery stores and delis have to be accurate in fractions of a pound. If you are paying $8.00 for a pound of cheese, the difference between 1.25 lbs and 1.50 lbs is $2.00.

Airport scales don't have to be too accurate. If a scale reads 50 lbs when the actual weight is 49.75 lbs, the difference is not that crucial. You simply take a small item out of the suitcase and you are fine.


User currently offlineMax550 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3274 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 2):
Airport scales don't have to be too accurate. If a scale reads 50 lbs when the actual weight is 49.75 lbs, the difference is not that crucial. You simply take a small item out of the suitcase and you are fine.

That's partially true, but he's talking about two scales giving a nearly 9 pound difference, not a .75lb difference.


User currently offlineSilentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2188 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3267 times:

Scales are regulated in Pennsylvania
http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/a...iculture/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=129356


User currently offlineFrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1745 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3264 times:

Another airline "the customer is the enemy". An obvious and simple solution is that every counter ought to have at least one known accurate scale. If they are charging for it, it is commerce. It is a matter of law. They ought not to be making what is their problem a customer problem. But then what's new?


Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineDurangoMac From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3227 times:

The state of Colorado requires the scales to be certified every year. The catch is that the airline has to call and get a certification scheduled, a lot of times it's the airline's auditors that find the scale isn't certified.

User currently offlineNkops From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2709 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3214 times:

I know in NJ here, the division of weights and measurements comes out and calibrates the scales once a year... it is a state requirement. There should be a sticker by the scale showing when it was last calibrated.


I have no association with Spirit Airlines
User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3158 times:



Quoting Max550 (Reply 3):
That's partially true, but he's talking about two scales giving a nearly 9 pound difference, not a .75lb difference.

I can't speak for the entire US, but whenever I have weighed my suitcase at home and then at the airport, the airport scale has never been more than a pound different.

I think American carriers would be leary of trying to cheat you on baggage because of Americans propensity to file lawsuits, call television stations for consumer advocate journalists to test the scales in person, complain to the FAA, etc.


User currently offlineFrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1745 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3128 times:

Now that I have thought about it, the simplest solution would be to have a 25 lb dumbbell. The vinyl covered ones are nice, compact, and weigh exactly 25 lbs. If a customer questions the scales they could simply put the DB on the scales.


Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineVfw614 From Germany, joined Dec 2001, 4062 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 3101 times:

Just came across this report by the UK consumer watchdog on which apparently the figures I quoted from the press were based:

http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/t...asset-relay.cfm?frmAssetFileID=213

According to this report, the problem is not only non-calibrated scales, but also personnel mishandling the scales, e.g. not resetting them properly. For example, the figure 10 out of 18 scales not "working" properly at LGW quoted in the press (I had lifted that figure from an article in the Guardian) actually referred to scales not being reset by the CSRs (in one example given, it initially was 5kg excess and after being reset, it was then only 1kg). I really don't know why scales at an airport cannot be designed in a way that it is not possible to manipulate them.


Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
2 Airline Itins And Baggage Fees posted Sat Nov 15 2008 09:58:43 by JerseyGuy
CO Waives Baggage Fees For Its Chase Cardmembers posted Tue Oct 28 2008 13:06:38 by PNQIAD
Delta Increasing Baggage Fees posted Tue Jul 29 2008 13:25:50 by DLX737200
New Checked-in Baggage Rules & ID90 Staff Travel? posted Mon Jun 16 2008 20:48:57 by Soundtrack
Need Help With Baggage Fees And Codeshares posted Wed May 28 2008 23:47:18 by FlyingNanook
UA Revises Checked Baggage Fees posted Thu Apr 3 2008 22:52:07 by Platinumfoota
The Best Baggage Systems For Airports? posted Thu Apr 3 2008 01:19:06 by QatarA340
United's Excess Baggage Fees? posted Fri Feb 8 2008 05:19:22 by 764
Allegiant Raises Checked Baggage Fees Yet Again posted Mon Oct 29 2007 21:57:26 by Iowaman
Allegiant Raises Checked Baggage Fees posted Sun Sep 2 2007 00:00:08 by Iowaman