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Overweight baggage fee? Was that airline scale accurate?

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Overweight baggage fee? Was that airline scale accurate?

By Craig Smith. CREATED Nov 4, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Hate those airline baggage fees? You'll probably hate this news too.  The scales that help decide if you'll pay an overweight charge may not have been telling the truth about what your bag weighs.

For most airlines if your bag goes over 50 pounds you're in for a big penalty charge on top of probably 25 dollars for checking a bag.
     
With stakes like that you want to know that scale is accurate to the ounce.  State inspectors found they may not be.

For airlines the baggage scale is a money maker.  Tip the scales above the weight limit and you'll dig deep for big fees.

So travelers like Lindsay Luke sweat every ounce.

"When I'm picking up my baggage to take it to the cab, to the car I'm sweating already. I'm nervous, I'm always nervous. Am I going to be under the amount they're going to charge me? "
   
But now Arizona's Department of Weights and Measures has found a lot of airline scales that may say you're over, even if you really are under.

The day inspectors checked TIA, they found Delta had four scales that weighed heavy---good for the airline, bad for the customer..

United had one defective scale.

Southwest had one scale that was weighing light so it cut customers a break.

Scales on Alaska, American, and U.S. Airways all passed with no problem.

State inspectors took the bad scales out of service right away until they were corrected but passengers say if airlines want to make them pay by the pound, those airlines had better be more precise.

Susan Waite says, "Ten years ago it wouldn't have been a big deal but now days with them nickel and dimeing every little pound it's pretty criminal."

Delta says it was not off by much---about a pound but there are penalties.  Airlines will be fined 300 to 500 dollars per violation.

If you think you were charged unfairly you may have a tough time getting your money back.  Airlines say no refunds because they give you a chance to move stuff from a heavy bag to a lighter one.  If you still want to try, you'll probably need the inspection report for that airline, on the day you flew.  If there's a report for your flight day you can search for it here.
 

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press