Fort Lauderdale

Inspection Uncovers Nine Inaccurate Luggage Scales at Local Airports

Overweight bags at the airport can add up when you travel. It's why we wanted to know what's done to ensure the scales that weigh your bags are accurate.

Tyler Byrd told us his baggage often is heavy when he travels.

"I do wear a size 15, my shoes are usually the weight factor," he told us.

Airlines charge more for a single piece of luggage that weighs more than 50 pounds.

For the Ewing family, that was a problem.

"We went up there put the bag on the scale," Brendan Ewing told us. "It came in at around 59 pounds."

He rearranged baby items and warm weather clothes to drop the weight.

"Shuffle a few things around in the bags, move some stuff to our carry-on, move some lighter weight stuff to the bigger bag, and we were able to get it down to 50," he said.

Heavier planes burn more fuel which cost airlines more money. It is the reason they give to charge you more for overweight bags.

Some airlines charge a $100 fee for overweight luggage, so the accuracy of the scale can mean the difference in what you pay.

The Weights and Measures Division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspects airport scales.

We watched as inspectors tested one scale at a time at Miami International Airport.

They used calibrated 25-pound weights to test each scale up to 500 pounds.

Inspectors also shifted the weight around making sure no matter where you put your bag on the scale you would get an accurate reading.

Inaccurate scales, favoring the airlines, are taken out of service immediately.

During the latest inspection, of the 20 luggage scales inspected at MIA, six failed. At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, three of the 21 scales didn't pass inspection.

Once a scale is taken out of service, it is required to be fixed within five business days and a notice of correction must be provided to the state.

The state says it inspects scales every 12 to 18 months, but both airports contract with private vendors to inspect and recalibrate scales throughout the year.

If you question the weight a scale gives you for a bag, you can ask the airline employee to place your bag on a different scale.

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