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How accurate are Qantas airport bag-weighing scales?

June 17, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Analog scales used by Qantas at airport terminals sometimes inflate the weight of carry-on luggage by up to 30%, according to an investigation by Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper, published yesterday.

Analog scales are the older sort of mechanical scales that have a round dial, like a clock-face, with the weight recorded by a pointer.

The paper said it tested one of the Qantas “old-fashioned analog scales” by placing a pre-weighed bag, known to weigh exactly 7kg, on the scale. The Qantas scale said it weighed 9kg. Another Qantas scale weighed the bag and placed the weight at 7.7kg.

The Sunday Telegraph reported it tested 45 scales at airport terminals and found all the digital scales worked correctly. The problem seems to lie with the analog scales.

If the Telegraph story is correct, the matter is significant, because passengers can be hit with an excess fee if their carry-on baggage exceeds airline weight limits.

The paper said it began the investigation when some airline customers claimed scales were over-estimating carry-on baggage weights.

Baggage-weighing analog scales (not necessarily the ones used by Qantas)

The story quoted a Qantas spokesman saying the airline was “gradually replacing” its analog scales with digital scales at major airports.

The report (which carried the alarming headline: Airline’s carry-on baggage scales show false weights) may serve to speed this process up.

Written by Peter Needham

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