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 costs? Does the fee exist to discourage travelers 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 0.5 lbs overweight. And while this isn’t the first time I’ve carelessly overpacked, ticketing agents in the past have looked the other way if a bag was barely over the limit. Today, I’d have to throw something out or pay a $100 fee.

Baggage, Checked Bag, Overpack

Because I didn’t have a carry-on or personal item with me, I chose to toss my 1 lb cheap-o umbrella. I could have just carried it through security 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 the Olympic sumo sitting next to me get the same checked bag privileges as me? If there is some algorithm calculating that the weight a checked bag adds to the flight requires the airline to charge more money, he should be entitled to check a stick of Trident, while I gets to bring a baby grand piano.

(Photo courtesy of News.com.au)

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, I could alternatively learn to weigh my bag before heading to the airport like everyone else.

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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.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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