Report: Arizona travelers may have been cheated by scales
PHOENIX – A new report by the state Department of Weights and Measures shows some Arizona travelers may have been cheated at the airport.
Kevin Tyne, the agency's director, said his inspectors found that nearly one out of every four scales used by airlines at Sky Harbor, Tucson International and Phoenix Mesa Gateway airports were out of compliance with state regulations.
Tyne acknowledged some of these were technical, like failing to post notices of exactly how much extra it costs when a bag is considered overweight. But he said inspectors also found scales that were not working right.
And while some of the weight errors were in the traveler's favor, some were not.
Tyne said that can be critical – and expensive.
He said airlines charge anywhere from $50 to $100 for every bag that clocks in at more than 50 pounds. And those who travel heavy – 70 pounds or more per bag – can face additional charges of up to $200.
At the very least, Tyne said, travelers need to know what they're facing.
“Some of the airlines were not putting the charge for the overweight bags'' next to the scales as is required in Arizona, he said.
But inspectors also found inaccurate scales, determined by certified weights that his agency uses.
And there were other problems.
“They have to start at zero,'' Tyne said of scales. Otherwise, he said, they cannot be used.
And Tyne said there were scales that had “abnormal performance,'' failing to produce consistent results.
He said many of the airlines do have technicians that come in regularly to calibrate the scales. But he said they can get out of whack pretty easily.
“You have personnel on occasion that are standing and walking on those scales,'' Tyne said. And both airline staffers and flyers are “slamming the luggage and the bags on those scales.''
“It's not surprising that we do get some scales that are not able to zero and that do have some problems,'' he said.