Overweight Baggage Fees Are Fake. Get Rid of Them.

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Overweight checked baggage fees are completely meaningless.  What exactly am I being charged for?

Does the weight each traveler contributes to a flight make a huge difference in fuel or something?  Does the fee exist to discourage folks from checking heavy bags that threaten the back muscles of the baggage handlers?

On an early morning flight to Fort Lauderdale, my checked bag was half a pound overweight.  I’m ashamed to say this isn’t the first time I’ve over-packed.  In the past, the ticketing agent has looked the other way if my bag was slightly over the limit.  But today, I’d have to throw something out or pay a $100 fee.

Baggage, Checked Bag, Overpack
I Don’t Usually Check a Bag, but If Ever I Do, I Bring Everything I Own

Because I didn’t have a carry-on or personal item with me, I chose to toss my ~1 pound cheap-o umbrella.  It cost only a few bucks anyway.  I could have even brought it as my personal item, but I didn’t want to hang around the airport carrying nothing but an umbrella like a lunatic.

Had I kept the umbrella in my bag, I’d have been charged $100 for 8 ounces of transgression!

I’m not against fees and restrictions with a sound reason behind them.  I totally understand the checked bag size restrictions.  Maximum dimension of 62 inches.  There’s only so much room in the cargo hold.  Easy to understand!

But it doesn’t seem like there’s any logic behind baggage weight limits.

If weight is the main concern, why does a girthy carcass like mine get the same checked bag privileges as a 50 pound child?  If there is some algorithm calculating that the weight I add to the flight requires the airline to charge more money, I should be entitled to a stick of Trident in my checked bag, while the child gets to bring an anvil and a grand piano.

If Airlines Truly Are Concerned With the Weight of the Plane, Some Travelers Should Receive Less Baggage Privileges Than Others

The fees must be an airline ploy to make a quick buck.

Airlines everywhere, either let me bring whatever I want as long as it fits into a 62 inch bag, or make every passenger mount the scale with their bag and charge them accordingly.  Don’t make me throw my umbrella away because it puts my bag 8 ounces above an arbitrary limit.

Or, now that I’m thinking about it, an alternative would be that I can learn to weigh my bag before heading to the airport like everyone else.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

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