Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Shed excess baggage before going on holiday and save pounds

Monday, 22 July 2013

Now summer has arrived Hampshire County Council Trading Standards has come up with some easy tips to avoid unforeseen luggage charges when flying off on holiday.

Trading Standards regularly test the accuracy and suitability of all types of weighing equipment, particularly in airports to protect holiday makers from paying over the odds for their excess luggage.

A charge can arise from the baggage weighers at airports, so these are regularly tested.

Check the airline's policy on luggage

Check the airline websites and your booking paperwork for the number of bags you can take and the weight limits and size of hand luggage Pre-booking bags can save money.

Bags and cases to be checked in to the aircraft hold

Many airlines allow 15kg or 20kg, but will charge fees of £20 or 20 Euros for each kilogram over.

The empty cases themselves can weigh a few kilograms before they are filled, so this is something to bear in mind when buying new cases.

Take just enough clothes and cosmetics for your holiday

Most clothes are light, but they mount up. Consider wearing the heavier ones, e.g. jeans, and try to keep shoes to a minimum. Buy travel size containers for cosmetics, or take just enough for your holiday.

Check the packed cases on your bathroom scales

Check the packed cases on your bathroom scales before heading off to the airport, but remember these are not as accurate as trade scales used in the airport.

Limit liquids in hand luggage

You can take usually 100ml containers of liquid in hand luggage, so most cosmetics will need to be packed in suitcases.

Cabin/Hand luggage

Hand luggage is normally restricted to one bag each. You should be informed of the maximum size allowed before you travel and all airlines all differ.

Books, electrical items, cameras all best packed in your hand luggage.

At the airport

When you get to the airport there is often a Customer use scale, so if you think your cases may be close to the limits, check them before joining the check in queue, sometimes a small charge is made to use these scales.

At the check in desk

When at the check in desk, check the baggage scales are at zero before you put the cases on. Load what you think is your heaviest bag on first, that way, if it is over the weight limit you could transfer some of the contents into a lighter bag. If luggage is over the weight limit there may be some discretion, but if it is too heavy, you will either have to remove some weight, or pay a charge.

Are the weighing machines at the airport accurate?

If you think the weighing machines at the airport are inaccurate, bring this to the attention of a member of airport staff, they may have a test weight to check it for you. If you are concerned let Trading Standards Officers know on your return. Call Hampshire County Council Trading Standards on 01962 833620 for Southampton Airport, or Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 0405 06 for other airports.

Trading Standards Officers do check these machines, their approval, use and accuracy is specified in the Weighing Equipment (Non Automatic Weighing Machine) Regulations 2000.

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