It all started with a question that was posed to me from a reader of my weekly travel column in the Winnipeg Free Press.


The reader had recently gone a trip that involved a flight to one city with Airline one and then Airline Two on their second segment.


The two airlines were not part of the same codeshare banner so the luggage had to be claimed and weighed a second time during the second check in procedure.


“When we went to weigh in at (at Airline Two), the scale showed the luggage weighed 10 pounds less than the first.”


The reader was understandingly perplexed as to why the significant difference.


That difference could have cost our reader significant overage charges had the bag been over the airline maximum.


The reader turned to me for an explanation as to why this occurred?
My answer was unequivical and defensive for the airline.


I have not heard of anything like this but I have to assume that one of them was faulty.
I was particulary pleased with the headline on my column written by the Free Press…There’s no weigh airline scales are rigged, it boldly stated taking from the tone of my answer to all my readers.


And I stand behind that feeling still.


We use a luggage scale to weigh our luggage before we leave on most trips now because we have paid the penalty for being overpacked in the past.
In doing so we have not experienced any significant variation from home to airline check in.


But it has got me to thinking. It is strange that the two airlines would show such a different reading on their scales.


How often are airline scales checked, and what is the quality of the scale in the first place?


How much variance do they allow before penalizing you.


On a United Airlines trip not so long ago I was charged an overweight fee even though one bag was over by 5 pounds and the other was under by more than 5 pounds.


The counter guy was rude and stubborn and would not allow me the time to move items from the heavier to the lighter. He still had time to go through the credit card process.


I do not believe any airline would rig its scales.


There are too many reasons why this could not likely happen. Trust, integrity and the fact that many travellers, like me, also have luggage scales at home.
I will have the opportunity many times over the coming year to test my belief, with any number of airlines I will be flying on.
Our scale is new, and while there could be some minor differences between mine and the airlines’, the differences should be minute.


I would also like to hear from you. Have you gone through any similar experiences as my reader whose initial inquirey has prompted my to second thought about the accurace of airline scales?
I certainly will report your experiences and my findings as the year progresses.


In the meantime I recommend everyone have a quality luggage scale at home to weigh all items for check in or carry on.


The investment in a scale is small compared to what the airlines charge for overweight luggage.


The one I use is really good.


It’s called the Balanzzo Ergo Digital Scale. It is easy to attach, hold, lift, and read.


You can order it on line from by going directly to this link


I think everyone should have one whether you travel once a year or once a month.