SNATH
Topic Author
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AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:54 am

This has happened to me twice now.

I turn up to check-in for an AA flight and they find one of my two suitcases to be more than 50lb. So, I either have to pay a luggage overweight fee or rebalance the weight of my suitcases. I of course chose to do the latter. But, by doing so:

(a) I slow down the check-in process
(b) I'm annoyed (as I have to open my suitcase in the middle of the terminal)
(c) the plane carries exactly the same weight, and
(d) most importantly, AA doesn't make any extra money

It's not a big deal, and I rarely travel with checked in luggage anyway. I'm just curious why they do this...

Tony
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utapao
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:11 am

Not just an AA thing. Other ailrines have similar rules in place. And each airline varies in their enforcement.

I remember the BBC Airport series had one show where a guy was forced to "re-level" his luggage.

The party-line explanation from a Knight Ridder article run in many preiodicals:

Quote:
Since early this year, says Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, airlines have been more weight-conscious about checked baggage.

‘‘Their rationale was that heavier bags were causing injuries to baggage handlers,’’ she says. ‘‘Many airlines responded by reducing their weight limits from 70 pounds per bag and began charging passengers for bags that weighed in excess of 50 pounds. They also reduced the number of checked bags that they previously permitted.’’
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SNATH
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:13 am

Quoting Utapao (Reply 1):

I see. Thanks for the explanation! So, even though they do accept heavier suitcases for a fee, they are trying to minimize the number of them?

Tony
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dutchjet
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:16 am

I am not trying to be cute - but it you realize this is an issue and you have experienced a problem on two separate occassions, why not weigh your bags before you depart for the airport and "balance" them at home without drama??

And, this is not an AA thing: airlines worldwide are using the 50 lb rule.......as mentioned above, for two reasons: first, baggage handlers were getting injuries from the very heavy bags and, second, to reduce costs/increase revenue.
 
BritPilot777
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:18 am

50lbs so about 23kg, It's happening everywhere, VS have just changed their baggage allowance, BA will be changing their hand baggage allowances in July and hold baggage in October, stay tuned for that, lots of fun and games at LHR im sure when that comes into force.

BP777
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9252fly
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:26 am

Quoting SNATH (Thread starter):
It's not a big deal, and I rarely travel with checked in luggage anyway. I'm just curious why they do this...

Probably to give you a break. As much as they need to collect the fees for their airline,they are likely trying to drive the message home that passengers need to think about the weight of their bags before checking in. Perhaps a solution would be for a weigh scale to be placed near the check-in area allowing you to decide then,if you want to shift some weight,or pay the fee.
 
SNATH
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 2:26 am

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 3):
I am not trying to be cute - but it you realize this is an issue and you have experienced a problem on two separate occassions, why not weigh your bags before you depart for the airport and "balance" them at home without drama??

Hotels do not usually provide you with scales... (both times was on the way back...)

Tony
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Bicoastal
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:04 am

I think the motivation here is to reduce injuries to their counter and ramp personnel from lifting heavy bags. Extra fees for heavy bags help cover the increased workman's compensation payments when these guys and gals go out with extended back and shoulder injuries.
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flflyguy
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:18 am

Also, when a bag IS overweight, it gets a special tag on it indicating that it is HEAVY. That way, baggage personnel can use extra care in loading it to avoid injury.
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N1120A
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:26 am

Quoting FLFlyGuy (Reply 8):
Also, when a bag IS overweight, it gets a special tag on it indicating that it is HEAVY. That way, baggage personnel can use extra care in loading it to avoid injury.

They don't just tag overweight bags as Heavy. I have had a 46 pound bag tagged as heavy.
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UK_Dispatcher
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:49 am

In the UK, bags which are over 20kg (sometimes 24kg) should be labelled as 'Heavy' as a warning to ramp staff, and baggage over 32kg should not be accepted, unless prior handling arrangements have been made.

It is simply a health and safety issue.
 
ckfred
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:15 am

The other reason that AA is getting picky is that with the higher weights for passengers and carry-on bags, the Embrears are having some weight and balance issues. Because the FAA raised the weight used for passengers and normal carry-on bags, the Embrears sometimes can't carry full passenger loads, or the amount of bags and cargo has to be limited.

My wife was on an Eagle flight, and the captain and gate agent decided that they couldn't put on the stand-bys or bags that got bumped off an earlier flight, because of weight and balance.
 
ikramerica
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:20 am

Quoting Utapao (Reply 1):
Not just an AA thing. Other ailrines have similar rules in place. And each airline varies in their enforcement.

A friend staying at my house was on UA back to SYD, and we took 5 minutes to weigh his bags on my bathroom scale and found 1 at 44 and 1 at 56, so we transfered 6 pounds from one to the other. But we had time to do it at home.

I imagine in a hotel, you don't have this luxury.

And again, while I understand it is supposed to be a "health and safety issue" it doesn't really square with me when F, J and elite frequent flyers can usually have <70lb bags.

Are 55 pound bags for Y passengers more dangerous?  Wink
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flyingnanook
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:25 am

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 5):
Perhaps a solution would be for a weigh scale to be placed near the check-in area allowing you to decide then,if you want to shift some weight,or pay the fee.

I seem to remember Continental doing something that at LAX when I flew through there in December. There was an employee who would pull people out of line (a very long line) if their suitcase looked like it was overweight and had them weigh in on a scale near the entrance. If it was overweight, the people got back into line and had plenty of time to repack it before reaching the counter if they wanted. If they didn't want to repack it, the employee would put the heavy tag on the suitcase.

This is the only time I've seen something like that and I think it's a good idea.
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N1120A
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:02 am

Quoting FlyingNanook (Reply 13):
I seem to remember Continental doing something that at LAX when I flew through there in December. There was an employee who would pull people out of line (a very long line) if their suitcase looked like it was overweight and had them weigh in on a scale near the entrance. If it was overweight, the people got back into line and had plenty of time to repack it before reaching the counter if they wanted. If they didn't want to repack it, the employee would put the heavy tag on the suitcase.

This is the only time I've seen something like that and I think it's a good idea.

Virgin has do it yourself scales at LHR.
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9252fly
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:45 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 14):
Virgin has do it yourself scales at LHR.

An excellent idea and I'm impressed. It should be an industry standard. I recently read about AC baggage injury statistics since they reduced the weight from 32kg to 23kg. Believe it or not,it dropped 50%!
 
aa1818
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:51 am

In T3 at LHR there are scales chained to some posts. I have used these before when travelling AA to MIA since as a law student I travel with one suitcase full of books and duffel bag with clothes. The books are always close to the limit but never seem to go over- lucky me!!!!! Also at when travelling IAH-DFW, I thought that the then 50lbs domestic limit would be inforce although at that time I was travelling on an internatioanl connecting flight to LGW with 70 lbs limit. I was able to walk up the America West counters that were empty and asked the agents if I could weigh my bags before walking down to AA to check in.

Bathroom scales sometimes aren't always acurate. Does anyone know if there are scales for home use designed for suitcase weighing, or bathroom scales that specifically say- 'good for weighing suitcases'?? - Sorry (totally out of aviation!!)

AA1818
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Bicoastal
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:00 am

I've been in Chicago a few times recently with UA. Their new line system at ORD which I'm told is being rolled out to all of its stations, is to have one point of entry for the economy class lines. One or two agents stand there to weigh bags and send customers to either the Easy Check In kiosks or to see an agent. If you have a straight forward electronic ticket and without overweight or extra bags, then you have to use the kiosks for check-in. Paper tickets and those with heavy and extra bags see an agent (sort of like a penalty box with long lines). The lines move much faster now at the kiosks. It's an efficient system and doesn't penalize those who have their act together when they get to the airport.
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smokeyrosco
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 6:50 am

In Ireland there is a law that say anything over a certain weight has to have a heavy tag when it's going to be lifted manually i can't remember what the weight is but it's between 20KG and 24KG
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aa1818
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:01 am

Bicoastal
That system sounds excellent. I would definitely like to see other carrirers adapt that system to suit them and implement a new proceedure for check-in. It must be especially useful to have a system like that on flights with 777 or 747.

AA1818
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Gr8Circle
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:03 am

Quoting AA1818 (Reply 16):
or bathroom scales that specifically say- 'good for weighing suitcases'?? - Sorry (totally out of aviation!!)

I have used my bathroom scale for weighing luggage prior to a flight....usually works, but you have to hold the suitcase on it at a particular angle to get a proper reading.... Big grin
 
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Zkpilot
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:26 am

At NZ the Piece system allowance is now 23kg(50lbs)x2for Y and 32kg(70lbs)x2 for Business. One bag can be up to 32kg but this means that the other bag needs to go down to 14kg (30lbs).

Bags that are over 20kg (44lbs) get a heavy tag
Bags that are over 30kg (66lbs) get 2 heavy tags
this is to let the loaders know that a) its heavy, or b) its uber heavy!
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BDL2DCA
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 11:01 am

Quoting AA1818 (Reply 16):
Bathroom scales sometimes aren't always acurate. Does anyone know if there are scales for home use designed for suitcase weighing, or bathroom scales that specifically say- 'good for weighing suitcases'?? - Sorry (totally out of aviation!!)

Get on the scale. Note your weight. Pick up the suitcase. Note your weight with the suitcase. Subtract your weight from the weight of you + suticase.

Works every time for me. But you can't be "shaving" pounds off cus you don't believe the scale.  white 
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tbnist03
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:54 pm

Quoting FLFlyGuy (Reply 8):
Also, when a bag IS overweight, it gets a special tag on it indicating that it is HEAVY. That way, baggage personnel can use extra care in loading it to avoid injury.

lol, with some of the baggage handlers I've seen. they don't treat your bag any better than the rest...its a really nice heave-ho motion.  Wink
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jetdeltamsy
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:00 pm

Quoting SNATH (Thread starter):
I'm just curious why they do this...

So nobody can be accused of playing favorites.
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artsyman
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:08 pm

It also plays a factor in knowing the take off weights etc. They know how many bags are in the hold and how many of them are overweight.
 
N839MH
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:26 pm

Delta at DFW has a portable "weigh it yourself" scale in the lobby right next to the "How much does your bag weigh" sign. This has already helped "move" customers thru the lines...over and over we see customers repacking their bags before they even get in line for the counter.
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phxpilot
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:05 pm

I am not sure how it works in other countries or at other airlines, but with mine the assumed weight of a checked bag is 30 pounds. If it "obviously weighs more than one bag" it is supposed to be counted as two (60 pounds).
This, however rarely happens.

I have often been right at max takeoff weight and wondered how much we actually weighed, since hardly anyone seems to pack 30 pounds or less.

There is no fudge factor in aircraft performance and there have been a few times where I have thanked my lucky stars that we didn't have an engine quit because if it did I doubt we would have made it.
 
chris133
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Sun Apr 16, 2006 11:04 pm

Actually, in the US anyway, all airlines have to account for bags over 50lbs. differently on the aircraft weight and balance. This is an FAA mandate as a result of the USAir Express accident in CLT a few years ago. Any bag over 50lbs. must be defined as HEAVY and counted differently. As for the extra charges, most airlines use it to offset the cost of the weight requirements or to help with the cost of OJI claims from employees injured buy moving those 70, 80, or 990+ lbs bags.
 
moman
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:28 pm

The AA check in counter @ TPA has a scale that you are supposed to weight the luggage on before you attempt to check in. It clearly lists the prices charged for being over the weight.

I've seen people throwing clothes away to get under 50 lbs at the Delta counter.

I think people bring too much stuff traveling but that's a whole other discussion.....
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aerorobnz
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RE: AA: Luggage Weight Rebalancing; Why?

Mon Apr 17, 2006 12:44 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 14):
Virgin has do it yourself scales at LHR.

Virgin Does, but there are other BAA scales around LHR as well. at AKL we have them too. I thought it was standard at most airports.
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