Baggage scales at New York airports may be wrong


American Airlines may be using faulty baggage scales in New York’s Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

According to a report by the New York Post, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) recently cited American Airlines for using 10 inaccurate scales at its check-in counters at JFK.

DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz said that because of the luggage fees the airlines are charging, the scales have to be perfect. His agency is shutting down any luggage scales that aren’t accurate.

A check of the 810 luggage scales at Kennedy and LaGuardia, proved that 102 of them have not been calibrated correctly. 28 are at American’s counters, which has one of the highest baggage fees in the nation.

The New York City Weights and Measures Law says that a scale cannot be off by more than one pound either way. If a scale is not accurate, it has to be taken out of commission until it is properly calibrated.

A follow-up inspection found that LaGuardia’s scales were 100 percent accurate. At JFK, however, 10 were condemned because they were inaccurate and continued to be used.

DCA spokeswoman Beth Miller said that it doesn’t matter whether the scales are reading heavier or lighter.  If it’s wrong, it can’t be used. Otherwise, they face $150 in fines, which could increase after a hearing in December.

A DCA source said that ”American Airlines is the biggest violator, and they continued to use 10 scales after they were issued a stop-use order…It’s kind of curious that all 10 were only with one airline. We are going to check on them regularly.”

American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said that “it spends tens of thousands of dollars each year on scale calibration.”

Mintz said that the DCA is urging passengers to be on the lookout for red condemned stickers on scales. If they see a scale being used despite the sticker, they are urged to contact the DCA and it will be taken care of.

You can read the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs press release regarding this issue here.

  • The man who notices things

    Hmm, you have a scale. That scale over-weighs by 4 lbs. You face a $150 fine. You collect $500 a day in unearned overweight bag fees every DAY with that scale.

    Do you fix it? Or do you simply pay the $150 fine every time they come to inspect?

    Discuss among yourselves.