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Airport scale variance

Edinburgh, United...
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Airport scale variance

Recently we checked in for a BA flight at Edinburgh Airport to Gatwick. Our bag weighed 19.2kg on the scales. Two hours later the same (unopened) bag was checked on a Easyjet flight. The scales read 19.9kg which if it had gone over 20kg would have possibly been subject to additional payment with Easyjet.

This is an increase of 3.6%, Presumably both airports will calibrate the scales on a regular basis. Is there any accepted variance in the industry?

thanks

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: Airport scale variance

Probably water weight from the first flight.

Bangkok
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for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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2. Re: Airport scale variance

Hi,

"This is an increase of 3.6%, Presumably both airports will calibrate the scales on a regular basis. Is there any accepted variance in the industry?"

From a bag charge perspective, that's usually an issue that the national regulators speaks to in terms of acceptable variances related to measuring devices when used for commerce purposes.

Normally the carriers don't set their own variances, they have to comply with whatever is the applicable law on the matter.

Internally for things like weight and balances on the aircraft, they can and often do use variances, but there again, these variances would be ones that have been presented, in advance, to their operational safety regulators for their approval or not for use..

So again, they commonly wouldn't be using their own self-made variances an/or variances that weren't pre-approved for that specific application.

Travel Safe,

NJ
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3. Re: Airport scale variance

Another question to ask is who's scale was correct (or closer to it)

Detroit, MI
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4. Re: Airport scale variance

I am not sure of the rules of calibration for airport scales. It will vary by location. In the US, this is usually left up to each state. Here in Michigan, I know the state government certifies anything used for commerce such as deli scales and gas pumps.

I have also worked with scale calibration companies, and any industrial scale should be able to hold a much better tolerance than .7 kg. I would expect at the most it would be +/- one least significant digit, so if the scale read to a tenth of a kg, I would expect it to be accurate to within +/- 0.1 kg.

You could always ask to see the calibration sticker. There should be one on the scale showing the last time it was calibrated and when it is due. Much like the police that write you a ticket for 5 mph over the speed limit when you were really doing 12 mph over, I doubt that the airline would enforce a tenth of a kg or so. If they did, I would start asking about calibration to try to be enough of a pain that they would waive the charge just to get rid of me.

norfolk
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5. Re: Airport scale variance

in uk airports, it is the trading standards department of the local authority which has jurisdiction. if you feel there is cause for concern, complain to the relevant authority.

however, there is a possibility that your luggage absorbed a certain amount of water during your first flight. i have not experienced this on short haul, but on long haul my clothing often feels damp when unpacking.

pam

London, United...
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6. Re: Airport scale variance

Interesting, did you weight the bag before departure? Which was the closet?

The lighter reading may have been the most inaccurate,,,or it may have been somewhere in the middle, and they were both of, but in different ways.

Detroit, MI
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7. Re: Airport scale variance

.7kg would be .7 liters of water - quite a bit to absorb, especially in the very low humidity of an aircraft at altitude.

Italy
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8. Re: Airport scale variance

And it was only a quick flight from Edinburgh to London so wouldn't have been able to absorb hardly any moisture, I think the scales were either off in Edinburgh or at Gatwick.

Houston, Texas
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9. Re: Airport scale variance

I've had weight differences many time. The simple solution is to place your bag on another scale.

Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Airport scale variance

.7kg would be .7 liters of water - quite a bit to absorb, especially in the very low humidity of an aircraft at altitude.

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The retaining water was a joke.