03 November 2008

Inspections show inaccurate airline luggage scales may cost travelers money

Posted By: PointsWizard

Hello All, BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

As we move toward the end of the year and the busiest part of the travel season isn't ironic about the news that starts to come out with all of the airlines financial woes! This is a prime reason for passengers to become more "Proactive" in there travel plans than ever before. Now it's the scales the airlines could be using to nickle and dime you to death for every bit of cash they can get to stay above water another day! As you read the following story you will see what I mean and I also made a personal observation. How is it the cities with the most issues with bag weights are the cities with larger retired citizens in the Florida area (I'm curious to see what other retirement cities are like). One would think over-weight baggage we be most likely associated with the passengers traveling to the Caribbean (non-vacationer) like natives of the islands who tend to travel heavy going to the islands and coming back considerably lighter in baggage weight. Usually when your checking in to a flight and your checking a bag I would ask to see the scale and ask to have it zeroed before you put anything on the scale. If you think your bag will be close and a weight issue might be in the works at least be sure that it's weighing your baggage correctly.

Plan ahead and get to the airport early enough so that if weight is a problem you can adjust the items in your baggage maybe to another bag or carry-on to keep from having to pay an over-weight fee. There are some airports that have the scales accessible to you before you go to check-in and you can weigh it yourself to see were you stand and then adjust accordingly.

Weighing your baggage at home is also a good thing but remember the average basic scale for home use is a good range indicator (unless you have a newer digital scale) for the weight of your bag(s). So get an idea of the weight your working with and adjust as needed or at least make sure your not so heavy that you incur additional cost if your in the neighborhood of 100 lbs.

Packing your bag should be done methodically. Pack your clothing, shoes and personal products while thinking about their weight if your going someplace for a short period of time. Look at the climate of the place your going while packing to gauge what you need to check vs. carry-on. Somethings you can wait to get if your traveling to a friend or family members home you may not need to pick up some things and wait until you arrive to save you some ounces. Remember 16oz equals 1 pound and they add up quickly.

Sending your bag(s) ahead if you know where your going especially for the holidays and your spends several days in a place, think about checking your luggage ahead of time by sending it via UPS or FedEx. It maybe a little more expensive but you at least know where your luggage is all the time, you can send it 2-3 days ahead and have it waiting for you with family or friends when you arrive and your day of travel can be a light in day travel weight and much more comfortable and stress free about where your bag is if there is a delay or cancellation. Carry-on a small bag with food, personal items, medicine and at least a change of underwear and a washcloth just in case you get stuck in an airport and a hotel room isn't a viable option. Remember if you think everything is going to smooth in easy your already setting yourself up for disappointment.

Lastly, it is already snowing in some cities now and the airlines use different average weights to calculate the weight and balance for an airliner. Summer weight for average passengers is about 180 lbs (general average) and 200 lbs for the winter time and the airlines start using those numbers roughly around October and end in April and they can be adjusted because one way or another because of a cities specific climate conditions. Also when you fly into smaller cities that use commuter size aircraft weight becomes more critical and if your traveling to a ski resort plan on delays, cancellations and bags not arriving on-time when you do because of weight limits of that particular aircraft. Places in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, N.E. Corridor and of course Canada to name a few will have ski resorts near the local airport and it doesn't take much to have an airport socked in and flights can't land.

So be mindful, proactive and have your guard up in the winter months because things happen and you or the airline won't be able to control it so make the best of the situation my thinking that things may not go as planned and have a great flight and holiday travel season!



“Before packing your suitcase and heading to the airport this holiday season, consider this: The airline’s baggage scale may be the reason you’re paying extra for an overweight bag.
A Sun Sentinel analysis of nearly 2,000 South Florida airport scale inspections found that more than one in four resulted in failures from 2005 to mid-2008, many for technical reasons but some because they couldn’t weigh accurately.
Palm Beach International Airport had the worst record for weight-related failures, 12 percent, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International had 4 percent.
Inaccurate scales could mean travelers are unnecessarily shelling out money for heavy bags, as some airlines have increased fees for overweight luggage to compensate for extra handling and higher fuel costs.
Airlines said only a very small percentage of customers pay overweight bag fees, which are usually at least $50 each way for bags more than 50 pounds, and charges most commonly occur on international flights. Some consumers have filed complaints with the state in recent months, including Joseph Jablonski, of Flanders, N.J.
The 20-year-old and his mom packed a single bag for their four-day Bahamas cruise in July. It weighed 50 pounds on the bathroom scale at home and the JetBlue scale at the Newark airport. Returning from the cruise, Jablonski said he was surprised when a ticket agent in Fort Lauderdale said his bag was too heavy.
“They were trying to tell us the bag gained 35 pounds in four days,” he said, noting they didn’t buy much on vacation. “

by Jaclyn Giovis and Dana Williams

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