An important but often-overlooked piece of gear you can add to your travel kit are luggage scales.
Luggage scales are a cheap investment that can save you extortionate overweight baggage fees at the airport. Airlines actually make huge profits from baggage fees, some major UK carriers charge up to £20 for every extra kilo your bag weighs over or flat charges of around £100! CNN discovered that the top 25 US airlines make around $4.2 billion a year from excess baggage fees.
Some airlines have been known for even declining your bag completely if it weighs significantly over!
Luggage allowances apply to all luggage including hold luggage and hand baggage. Baggage allowances have fallen sharply in recent years and depending on your airline, you might be pretty constrained with what you bring aboard. Whilst there is undoubtedly some profiteering going on here, planes do have to fly with lower weights to meet fuel usage regulations and to maintain safe take-off and landing weights.
It’s not only good practice to weigh your bags before visiting the airport, but also to take them with you for the return journey and for any internal or transfer flights.
So, how do you use luggage scales properly?
Using Digital Scales
Digital luggage scales are equipped with an LCD screen that handily displays your bag’s weight. They have strong straps that can be clipped to your bag, you then lift up your bag and check the LCD display for your bag’s weight.
Good digital scales can be set to display weight in either ounces or kilograms.
Truth be told, they’re pretty easy to use but you do have to make sure your bag is elevated properly and stable at the time of measurement. Most digital scales should be fine to weigh bags up to some 40kg, which is pretty heavy and easily enough to cover the max baggage weight of almost every major carrier worldwide (around 32kg at the most).
If you’re lifting a particularly large bag then you may need to stand on a sofa or chair to get the clearance you need to lift it but other than that, luggage scales are easy to use and provide a quick and easy way to avoid airport excess baggage fees.