Overweight Baggage Fees Are Fake. Get Rid of Them.

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Overweight Baggage Fees Are Fake. Get Rid of Them.

Joseph HostetlerOverweight Baggage Fees Are Fake. Get Rid of Them.Million Mile Secrets Team

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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.

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If the fees were based on weight ratios as they relate to the plane flying then all those extra seats they have added to planes and squeezed us all into should have grounded them all before takeoff. Obviously they are charging the fees only because they can. Can anyone say anti trust price fixing?

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Joseph Hostetler

That’s an interesting thought.

You could switch suitcases. Osprey Ozone 28″ is 4lbs 14oz.

I truly believe the same as you. The airlines have gotten rich on baggage fees alone. Limitations on weight of baggage does not take into account passenger weight. They should be more sensible with their restrictions. Just make sure you have extra room in your carry-on for adjustment.

When planning a flight, airlines use standard weights per passenger and per bag to ensure they’re planning for the correct amount of fuel (it takes more fuel to move more weight) and to ensure they don’t overload the plane. These standard weights end up evening out in the end (my tubby butt is counteracted by the kid sitting behind me). So yes, overweight baggage fees are largely to discourage people from overpacking and throwing the algorithm off.

What about the difference in body weight of people if the airlines are truly concerned about weight on the plane?

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