Will you be flying this holiday season? Watch out, because the airline baggage scales could be WRONG! We read about this on ABC News. It turns out, several inspections have found problems with the scales that the airlines use to weigh your bags. For example, the Department of Consumer Affairs found that 10% of the scales at Boston’s Logan airport were wrong. They also found that the scales were wrong at airports all over Florida. When authorities did a surprise inspection of the airlines’ scales at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, almost HALF of the scales had some kind of problem. If baggage scales are wrong, it can hurt your wallet! That’s because an overweight bag can cost you anywhere from $50 to $300 – extra!

So does this mean that airlines are trying to rip you off? Not exactly. When authorities recently inspected the scales at JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York, they found that about 92% of them were working properly, and the scales that weren’t working were fixed. In the Phoenix airport inspection, all of the problems with the scales didn’t benefit the airlines. In other words, the scales were saying the bags were lighter than they actually were. If you’re worried, try these tips the next time you fly:

  • Weigh your bag at home before you leave. If the airport weighs it, and it’s off from what your home scale said, speak up! Insist that your bag be weighed on a different scale.
  • Look at the airport scale and check for a seal from the local weights and measures or consumer affairs department. The sticker will say when the scale was last inspected.
  • Observe the scale as the ticket agent weighs your bag. The scale should read ZERO before the bag is weighed. If it doesn’t, ask them to weigh your bag on a different scale.