Let’s say you’ve weighed that piece of packed luggage at home. You’ve checked the weight several times. You are satisfied that the weight is not over what the airline will allow for no extra charge. You know that you have a terrific scale that doesn’t lie.
Feeling confident in the weight that you are now hoisting onto the scale at the airline check-in counter, your eyes bug out because your luggage is two pounds over. “How can that be?” you ask the person who is getting ready to write you up the bill for overweight baggage.
If you are at an American Airlines ticket counter at JFK, the difference between your luggage weight at home and your luggage weight at the airport may be caused by the scale at JFK. According to this NY Post article, the American Airlines’ scales are sometimes not calibrated correctly. In one instance, a check of scales at both La Guardia and JFK found that 102 scales out of 810 were not accurate.
When a scale is not accurate, it’s supposed to be taken out of commission until it is fixed. Although airlines aim to comply with this rule, sometimes faulty scales are still used. For example, of the 120 that were not working correctly, 10 were still being used a couple days later.
From what I gather after reading the article, the scale problem is mainly with American Airlines. The airlines does claim to spend mega bucks on scale calibration.
If you see a red sticker on a scale that says ‘condemned’ and the scale is still being used, let the Department of Consumer Affairs know about it. With American Airlines charging the heftiest fee for overweight baggage, one pound can make a difference.
[The photo by Todd Huffman is of a scale at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. I wonder how accurate this one is? Maybe American should look into it.]