October 26, 2008

Airport Luggage Scales Found Inaccurate

Scales used to weigh travelers' luggage at South Florida airports are frequently inaccurate, records show.

A South Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis of government inspection records for nearly 2,000 airport baggage scales indicated more than 25 percent of them failed accuracy tests between 2005 and mid-2008. The newspaper said the results show consumers could be unnecessarily paying penalties charged by some airlines for overweight bags.

The records showed Palm Beach International Airport had the worst record for weight-related scale failures at 12 percent, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International airports had 4 percent failure rate, the newspaper said.

The inspection records didn't show whether faulty scales erred in favor of the airline or consumer, but state officials said inaccuracies most often favor passengers.

"It's rare that you see a scale seriously off," Scott Morecroft, inspector for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Bureau of Weights and Measures, told the Sun-Sentinel.