Mikey711MN
Topic Author
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Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:10 am

I am continually confused, perplexed, and recently a little miffed at the policy of applying surcharges for overweight baggage. Recent personal experience left me with one 60-pound bag as checked luggage for a trip home where I collected both a few souvenirs and some reference materials from a recent seminar I attended.

With that said, I can appreciate that an airline--or any business--charges for something extra given to a passenger/customer above and beyond what is otherwise afforded them as a result of an airfare purchase. With that said, typical policies allow for two checked bags (each of which must be under 50 pounds) for ostensibly 100 pounds of transferred possessions.

Would it not make sense to invoke such a policy as a function of total baggage allocated to each passenger? I mean, given that I packed a single bag with effectively a higher density, but did not exceed my total allotment, didn't I do the airline a favor? Moreover, I am unaware of some beastly baggage handler who gets paid a higher wage for handling such larger bags where, say, the surcharge is passed on for providing the "extra" service.

It begs the question then: what is the surcharge actually for? To simply discourage packing bags so heavily? And if so, does this surcharge actually somehow get passed down to the employees who must deal with that or does it simply go to the airline's bottom line?

Of course, I ask with a bit of cynicism but also with a larger sense of knowing where I, a paying customer, is getting any value from this.

Safe travels,
-Mike

P.S. The fact that said bag did not make the trip with me, being delivered a full 16 hours later, simply adds to the consternation and decreases the value obtained for the $25 I paid.  Wink
I plan on living forever. So far, so good...
 
Vref5
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:26 am

From what I understand, injuries to baggage handlers are a very real part of the job and occurs with some frequency. That, in turn, incurs expenses... worker's compensation claim payouts, missed work, maybe overtime work for others, amongst other things.

So the airline has a vested interest in 'encouraging' passengers to break up the weight.

Not only that... encouraging lower overall weight also has other benefits -- doesn't need as much fuel. Fuel is one of the top costs at an airline at approximately 35% at a typical mainline carrier.

For smaller operations (e.g. regional airline), weight can be significant in their smaller aircraft. Fuel costs, center of gravity loading, total weight, etc.

Even for mainline ops, bags can sometimes be enough to be a 'deal breaker' on certain longhaul routes where the margins are extremely tight.

For instance, this kind of situation happens: operator (airline) finds out their 744 is too heavy to use the only available runway in its current configuration.

Solution: company dispatch figures out you can just barely get in the air by turning off all air packs (and the Captain agreed to it). They did, and just barely. The alternative was to offload 5,000 lbs of passengers and/or baggage/cargo.

Are the rules arbitrary as far as number of pieces and per-piece limits? Sure.

I'm afraid not much I can offer here except to commiserate.  Smile
 
Werkur767
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:43 am

Here in Brazil is the same thing or worst, the charges are high, higher than 40 pounds, will be charged, perplexed too.

I will not write longer because is the same or worst than the US.

 Embarrassment  Embarrassment  Angry  Confused  Yeah sure  alert 
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SJCRRPAX
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:53 am

Quoting Mikey711MN (Thread starter):
didn't I do the airline a favor?

I don't think you did the baggage handlers any favors. I'd much rather handle two 30lb bags than one 60lb bag. 60lbs is actually quite heavy. I once worked in a place with wimpy computer people and the company policy was no one was to ever lift anything heaver than 25lbs by themselfs. I broke that rule in the name of getting my job done, by theoretically I could have been fired.
 
Boston92
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:32 am

Those in-line skate wheels do not help the handlers all to much, they are lifting ALL day. But heres what I don't get:

What the hell is $50.00 gonna do? If a handler gets hurt from an overweight bag, I doubt fifty bucks would help. If I were an airline, I would not accept bags over fifty lbs no matter what.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
fr8mech
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:44 am

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 4):
What the hell is $50.00 gonna do? If a handler gets hurt from an overweight bag, I doubt fifty bucks would help. If I were an airline, I would not accept bags over fifty lbs no matter what.

The $50.00 does do a thing for the employee, it is designed to discourage the practice. Do you think a single $50.00 parking fine does anything for the city? No, it discourages the citizen from parking. Think of the surcharge as a fine.

Though enough of these surcharges can make a dent in the workman's compensation insurance each airline carries.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
 
Boston92
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:47 am

Quoting Fr8Mech (Reply 5):
it is designed to discourage the practice

Do you know what else discourages the practice? Not accepting them at all.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
cjbmibe
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:48 am

In the UK BAA restricted bags to 32kg maximum. As a result the airlines and other airports had to introduce the 32kg max.
Any bag over the 32kg must be repacked into 2 or more or some gear left behind. I think its an easy way to stop the injuries by setting a max weight.
I think BA have actually gone on to limit pax to 23kg per piece.

As far as I am aware (and its between BHD and DUB Wink) that american airlines give allowances per piece, in the UK its mainly by a maximum kg, eg 20 Economy, 30 Business, 50 with Star Silver/Gold on Business and excess charges are much higher as they are per kg not per piece. Say I'm in economy and have 25 kilos in one bag, I'd pay about £25 ($50), but in america there wouldn't be any fuss.
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fr8mech
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:52 am

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 6):
Do you know what else discourages the practice? Not accepting them at all.

True, but that won't contribute to the bottomline, will it?
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
 
Boston92
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:59 am

Quoting Fr8Mech (Reply 8):
True, but that won't contribute to the bottomline, will it?

If the bottomline is airlines making more money, than no it wont; but since the reason they have the charge is for the baggage handlers breaking there backs, the bottomline might also be less injuries, and it that case it will significantly contribute to the bottomline.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
okay
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:43 am

What I know the exess weight fee is for many reasons. To disencourage people to take more luggage with them than what is allowed by their ticket. The airline also wants compensation for something extra the passenger decided to have with them (it is clearly stated on the ticket what one's allowance is).
The airlines also carry a lot of cargo, and obviously this has to be left behind in case the pax have more luggage. It is also to make up this lost cargo revenue.
Especially checking in charter flights can be tricky. The plane is already full of passengers, long way to go.. And at the end of the day the plane can take only so much weight. So the only way to stop people bringing half of their homes with them, is to make it "an unattractive idea" to bring exess baggage.One's a few over kilos is not a problem, but think if all 200-220 pax have that "a few kilos"..
The 32 kg maximum limit is in deed been set to protect the people working in luggage handling. It is forbidden to accept a bag over this limit (at least in Finland. Not a company policy, it's work protection law that states this). If something happens "downstairs" it takes a few minutes to sort out who checked in the over weight bag, and this person can be in serious trouble for accepting such bag to be checked in. The employee does not get any compensation lifting a heavier bag than 20-23 kilos, that is his job, but is protected from injuring himself. Why the limit has been set to 32 kilos, I do not know.
 
COewrAAtysAZ
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:57 am

It is very simple and has already been stated. People don't realize the effect that the weight of these bags have on others. Obviously, it is a rampers job... but do you actually know what it feels like to handle a bag 60-70-80+ pounds? Trust me, try it and you'll realize why there is a fee in place.

American passengers are lucky... they have a choice to do it if they want to pay. Like a previous poster said, in the UK you don't even have the opportunity to pay a fee. It's 32kg or less... no debates.
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Bongodog1964
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:30 am

Why do people travel with so much baggage ?

Probably because they have in the past got away with it.

As mentioned above the UK now has strict limits on baggage weights, and anything over the limit will not travel. If the justification is staff health this can be the only logical method.

If there is a way of getting your overweight bag accepted, by paying an additional amount, its an additional profit maker for the airline pure and simple.

I was suprised to find that many check ins in the US do not have a complete baggage belt system. In the UK the check in staff never lift cases; the passenger places the bag on the belt over the scales, which at the push of a button moves the case back to the main belt.

In the US it generally seems that the check in staff have to manually carry the cases from the scales to the belt.

I know for sure that this results in serious injury to staff, as my wifes cousin now has permanant spinal damage from working on the check in at San Diego.
 
Mikey711MN
Topic Author
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:09 am

Quoting COewrAAtysAZ (Reply 11):
It is very simple and has already been stated. People don't realize the effect that the weight of these bags have on others. Obviously, it is a rampers job... but do you actually know what it feels like to handle a bag 60-70-80+ pounds? Trust me, try it and you'll realize why there is a fee in place.

Sure, I do understand that. I dragged that thing to/from the airport.

The basis for my question is whether or not the ramper sees any of that $25. Given that labor rates have been progressively declining over the last few years, it seems as though they don't. Personally, I'd rather see it given to them in at least some way, which I think Fr8Mech was able to articulate. I guess I just wondered--on the initial post--if that were, in fact, the case.

-Mike
I plan on living forever. So far, so good...
 
MiCorazonAzul
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:14 am

Quoting Mikey711MN (Reply 13):
Sure, I do understand that. I dragged that thing to/from the airport.

Right and that's the same as having to PICK AND Irtysh-Avia (Kazakhstan)">IT UP and load it in carts AND throw it around in the cargo bin AND lifting it up for stacking purposes.  Yeah sure

Sorry my friend.......no comparison.
Live for Today.....tomorrow is NOT guaranteed.
 
SJCRRPAX
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:27 am

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 12):
Why do people travel with so much baggage ?

I know why I do sometimes. It's because I don't want to wash clothes while on vacation or traveling on business. The hotels almost charge replacement value to wash clothes and I'm never sure if a coin laundry will be near or not, and washing clothes I'd rather do at home. Throw in some crazy weather like I seen on my last trip to Rome, London and Paris and it makes perfect sense that I'm hauling 60lbs of stuff around for 3 weeks.
 
nzrich
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:33 am

Quoting COewrAAtysAZ (Reply 11):
It is very simple and has already been stated. People don't realize the effect that the weight of these bags have on others. Obviously, it is a rampers job... but do you actually know what it feels like to handle a bag 60-70-80+ pounds? Trust me, try it and you'll realize why there is a fee in place.

American passengers are lucky... they have a choice to do it if they want to pay. Like a previous poster said, in the UK you don't even have the opportunity to pay a fee. It's 32kg or less... no debates.

It should be a set practice no bag over 32kg ..Its the same here in NZ there is a max weight i think its 32 and if its over you have to repack it.. Its for all the employees safety and that should be the airlines main priority not giving a customer a fine for going over it..
"Pride of the pacific"
 
ssides
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:41 am

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 9):
If the bottomline is airlines making more money, than no it wont; but since the reason they have the charge is for the baggage handlers breaking there backs, the bottomline might also be less injuries, and it that case it will significantly contribute to the bottomline.

The fee charged for overweight baggage is an attempt to balance the interests/desires of the passenger against the interests of the ramper/airline. If an airline didn't accept heavy bags at all, passengers would be very, very upset arriving at the airport and realizing they had no way to get their bag to their destination. At the same time, if there were no "fine" or charge, typical American passengers would throw in everything but the kitchen sink. The fee is a very economical and efficient way for the airline to say to the passenger "please try to balance/reduce the weight in your bags -- but if you have to have something heavy, please be willing to pay extra." Much better for this type of issue to be rationed down by money price as opposed to a harsh dictat from government or the airlines.
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Boston92
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:07 am

Quoting Ssides (Reply 17):

Well then the charge is just a way to make more money, and has nothing to do with work-place injuries as they all claim.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
ltbewr
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:16 am

Other issues can also be that on some flights, like from NY City area and other cities in the USA to some Carribbean Islands, Mexico and Central American, many or most pax try to check in excess luggage. Most pax use excess baggage to bring stuff like clothing or electronics that are much cheaper or easier to get in the USA, that family or friends want or need or for them to resell there.
Sometimes, some of those flights as noted above run so full of pax and the aircraft used have limited cargo/baggage space, especially during Christmas and Easter, that they will not accept any overweight bags or excess total weight checked baggage. AA and CO for example have seasonal checked baggage total weight limits and piece limits and will not accept any excess total or piece items at those times.
You could also have flights operated during very hot (LAS, PHX in the summer) or high altitude locations (DEN) that airlines may have to limit or not allow any overweight piece or excess baggage.
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:48 am

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 12):
Why do people travel with so much baggage ?

Because they have to? I've spent over $ 1000 of my employer's money this year. I travel with 2 tool/spare part cases+my suitcase. The extra bag charge is $ 105 + tax one way...
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workflyer
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:34 am

Not everyone has to fly with tools, so therefore in your instance the extra baggage would be unusual and not the norm. I do know where you are coming from as I travel with a lot of documentation for work and on occasion this pushes my allowance over the limit, especially when flying domestic here in NZ. I have no trouble with paying the fee because;

a) If I was under the weight limit I would be pee'd off if I knew that my ticket price was subsidising someone over he limit who carried excess through for "free", after all the cost of the flight has to be paid for somehow. and

b) Lower weight limits and sticking too them mean often lower air fares, less gas to carry incidental freight (baggage)

If a pax does not like doing laundry in hotels and strange cities that is hardly the issue of the airline and should not be up to the airline to subsidise by way of a higher baggage allowance.

The point raised above about using the fee to discourage people from carrying excess baggage is correct, the analogy with the parking fine puts it best.

BTW for the OP when was the last time you lifted a 60lb bag above your head while you were shuffling on your knees in a confined space? Have a little consideration for the ramp guys (Even if they do on occasion play football with your case)
 
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WildcatYXU
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:08 am

Quoting WorkFlyer (Reply 21):
I have no trouble with paying the fee because;

Me neither. Without the tools I could as well stay home. Get the tools to my destination wouldn't be free anyway.

Quoting WorkFlyer (Reply 21):
The point raised above about using the fee to discourage people from carrying excess baggage is correct, the analogy with the parking fine puts it best.

While that's a nice analogy, I see it a little differently. If I ask the airline to transport my extra toolcase, I'm asking for an extra service. Since there is no free lunch, I consider absolutely normal that I have to pay for it.

Quoting WorkFlyer (Reply 21):

BTW for the OP when was the last time you lifted a 60lb bag above your head while you were shuffling on your knees in a confined space? Have a little consideration for the ramp guys (Even if they do on occasion play football with your case)

I don't get your point. When last time you moved a 60 kg (not lb) argon laser from your car and brought it to the OR in basement with no elevator? Or when did you last time loaded a 170 kg OR microscope floorstand to a truck? Or when did you last time installed an even heavier ceiling unit? Mind you, that these aren't only heavy, but they're expensive too. We all have our jobs and our problems that come with the job.
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zippyjet
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:18 am

Quoting Vref5 (Reply 1):
From what I understand, injuries to baggage handlers are a very real part of the job and occurs with some frequency. That, in turn, incurs expenses... worker's compensation claim payouts, missed work, maybe overtime work for others, amongst other things.

But Wait There's More! In addition, it comes down to weight and balance of the aircraft. In addition, with the volatile price of fuel going up; every pound and yes ounce makes a difference.

And, though much of the bag belt loaders are made to take the hernia crap, your bag belts behind the ticket counter take a lot of wear and tear and are prone to high maintenance. Though are bag belt was replaced within the past 18 months, golf bags and other big stuff have to go down a seperate slide chute. Again time and labor intensive. Like everone else save maybe the government we have to watch our pennies and get as lean and mean as possible to keep our product safe and economically competitive.
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Viscount724
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:28 am

Someone with Philippine Airlines recently told me that some of their domestic flights from Manila operated with 737s carry many connecting passengers from the USA returning home to visit their families. They have so much baggage (gifts etc.) that the 737 often can't accommodate it all and they have to put the surplus baggage on a truck.
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:08 pm

Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 22):
BTW for the OP when was the last time you lifted a 60lb bag above your head while you were shuffling on your knees in a confined space? Have a little consideration for the ramp guys (Even if they do on occasion play football with your case)

I don't get your point. When last time you moved a 60 kg (not lb) argon laser from your car and brought it to the OR in basement with no elevator? Or when did you last time loaded a 170 kg OR microscope floorstand to a truck? Or when did you last time installed an even heavier ceiling unit? Mind you, that these aren't only heavy, but they're expensive too. We all have our jobs and our problems that come with the job.

The point is that when working in a cargo hold you have no mechanical aids, cannot use good lifting techniques due to the confined space, and have to carry out the task repeatedly within a time constraint.

With regard to lifting a 170kg microscope stand yuo would need to be superhuman to do that unaided.

Quoting SJCRRPAX (Reply 15):
Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 12):
Why do people travel with so much baggage ?

I know why I do sometimes. It's because I don't want to wash clothes while on vacation or traveling on business. The hotels almost charge replacement value to wash clothes and I'm never sure if a coin laundry will be near or not, and washing clothes I'd rather do at home. Throw in some crazy weather like I seen on my last trip to Rome, London and Paris and it makes perfect sense that I'm hauling 60lbs of stuff around for 3 weeks.

I don't consider 60lbs (27kg) to be excessive; after all UK airports allow bags up to 32kg. I'm thinking of the people you see who can barely see over the bags on the luggage cart
 
BMED
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:13 pm

I know that BD charge on domestic flights £5 for every 1 kilo over but then they don't always charge if your bags are over weight.
Living the jetset life! No better way to be
 
okay
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:49 pm

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 18):
Well then the charge is just a way to make more money, and has nothing to do with work-place injuries as they all claim.

These are two different things. Exess weight is the amount of kilos the pax goes over his/her allowance.

Quoting Ssides (Reply 17):
The fee is a very economical and efficient way for the airline to say to the passenger "please try to balance/reduce the weight in your bags -- but if you have to have something heavy, please be willing to pay extra." Much better for this type of issue to be rationed down by money price as opposed to a harsh dictat from government or the airlines

Such law to restrict the maximum weight (32kg) for a bag is necessary as otherwise people would be stupid enought to pack their suitcases so heavy, it would not only be hazardous to lift, but would most propably result in bag's breaking into peaces (the conveyers transferring bags from check in to luggage handling do not offer the easiest ride for the bag) And who then has to pay again? The airline..unrightfully.
The law does not in anyway restrict how much exess luggage one has. You can have (as far as the law is concerned) 100 kilos extra, as long as it is packed 32+32+32...You see my point? And surely airline is willing to take one's exess weight to carry, as long as one pays the price.The law is only to protect the people's health when lifting one unit, not to restrict the total amount of kilos.
Good example of situations where allowance is not exeeded but the 32kg limit is, is for example a couple travelling together. Let's say they are going on holiday, and have packed all their stuff in one big suitcase, weight 36kg. All in all good idea, at least efficient. In this case they could still have another 4 kilos (allowance 20kg x 2), but in any case they need to break this 36kg to two different units, and one unit must not exeed 32 kilos. How they work this out is then their decision (buy new bag is the most common solution).
 
planesailing
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RE: Overweight Baggage Charges

Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:56 pm

I understand the 32kg limit that is in force in England is infact an EU requirement across Europe, and not just BA or another airliner just demanding so.

It was introduced a couple of years ago. Heavy bags are now also routinely flag with a label to aid the handlers.