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Scales at the Gate

I don't remember ever seeing luggage scales at any boarding gate. Has anywhere here seen them AT THE GATE and if so, where and which airline?

I usually print my boarding pass online and go straight to security. The only place I remember them insisting on doing a passport check before the gate, and to get through security, is BA at Heathrow.

Addendum.....the reason I ask is this: If an airline has a carry on weight limit, but no scales at the gate, and there is no need to check in at the airport (boarding passes can be printed online), then the only concern is size and not weight.

Posted by
2707 posts

In Toronto, Alitalia won't let you print boarding passes online. You can check in - select seats and such - but you have to go to the check in desk on arrival to get your boarding pass, where you get your luggage weighed and tagged that it complies with the rules. This is for flights originating in Toronto, I am not sure about connections or other cities.

Posted by
6627 posts

Frank II, we saw scales at Lufthansa gate in ORD in fall of 2014. The gate agents walked around the waiting area and hefted bags they thought looked big, and took the ones they didn't like over to the sizer/scale.

We've had to show passports at the airport in order to get boarding passes on Delta and United in recent years. We were told it was standard procedure in each case, specifically, they needed to see that we had valid passports.

Posted by
2133 posts

I just saw scales at the gate in Frankfurt. We were getting on an Egypt Air flight and they weighed some of the bags as people approached to board the plane. It was not just Egypt Air though - the gate is shared by numerous airlines and, in fact, when we were using it, it was staffed by Swiss Air people for the Egypt Air flight. They were also walking around the waiting area, looking at bags, and asking questions if they thought the bags were oversize.

Posted by
2916 posts

It usually seems that airlines are more likely to have and use sizers near the gate as opposed to scales, although I've never really paid attention to whether there are scales around. However, the scenario a couple of posters mentioned -- eyeballing bags and weighing ones that looked iffy, happened to us about 20 years ago in Boston flying to Paris. We told our niece to pack light, but she didn't, and an Air France person was going around looking at carry-on bags, and weighed hers. It was too heavy and had to be checked.

Posted by
5462 posts

Frank, perhaps you meant to ask about "Transatlantic flights"? I certainly have seen scales at bargain airline gates in Europe. I couldn't swear to it in court, but I'm thinking of Ryanair and EasyJet, because we so rarely use such airlines, I can name them. I will say that our big-company package-tours to China threatened China-domestic-flight carry-on limits, but they never actually weighed our bags.

I would observe that you are, perhaps, hoping that a written rule will not be enforced. Do you think that's wise planning?

Posted by
21709 posts

On our flight to Cuba from Miami we had to put everything on the scale - jacket, handbags, personal items, carry on, etc. Anything loose want on the scale for a max of 44 lb. We had notice it was not an issue. In Prague returning to the US on Delta all bags were weighed and tagged. One family deliberately hid one bag so it was not tagged. They were stopped at boarding. We heard them trying to argue that the tag must have fell off. The gate agent didn't buy it and we never saw on the plane.

Granted, the probability of being weighed at the gate may be very, very low but what happens if you are weighed? Sound likes you are trying to sneak on an over-weight bag.

Posted by
11243 posts

By nature, I'm the type of person who tries to find a way around the rules. It's more fun that way. So, I was wondering if anyone got weighed at the gate since I have never seen it on any of my flights. Sizers, yes. Scales, no.

My bag is the correct size....55 x 35 x 20 cm (21.7 x 13.8 x 7.8 inches) but it can get a pound or two over some limits. If i knew some airlines were more prone to weigh and check at the gate, I would try to avoid them.

Posted by
6869 posts

Just about every gate in every airport has scales--where you set your bags when you get your boarding pass checked in.
Norwegian Air Shuttle picked me out of a long line to weigh my 21" roller--making an example out of me. It was 1 lb. over the 10 kg. maximum, and they wanted to charge me $50 to check the bag.
I held up their line for 5 minutes--moving 2 lbs. of my stuff into my wife's bag. I beat'em at their own game.
I try to limit my carry on suitcase to 22 lbs. now and in the future, and I weigh them at home before leaving.

Posted by
2006 posts

Does it really matter what people on here say?

Because the truth is it only counts when it's your flight and a defense of "but other posters on Rick Steves forum told me you didn't care how much it weighs" probably won't get you very far LOL!

Posted by
21709 posts

That is true Carol. But since Frank admitted to trying to get around the rules, he is just trying to judge his probability of getting caught. Part of some of the problems associated with travel is too many Franks who think that rules only apply to the other guy so that they have room for their oversized/overweight luggage. Sort of like current political situation - Only fools follow the rules. And I am a fool!

Posted by
3491 posts

There is a difference between the GATE and the TICKET COUNTER. The ticket counter is where you get your boarding pass (if you didn't print it at home) and check your luggage and is where you find scales. The GATE is where you board the airplane and they have bag sizers to see if what you want to carry on will fit.

In the US, the only place I have ever seen a scale at the gate was the Air Canada gate at the Denver airport. They were sneaky about it too because they had the scale actually on the jet way half way to the plane. They both measured and weighed my carry on last summer when I flew to Toronto. Lots of people were complaining about it not being fair that they were being forced to check their carry ons (mine was OK). I have not had my carry on bag weighed at the gate anywhere else in the world so far.

Many airlines have weighed my carry on at the ticket counters. Lufthansa from Denver is the wurst about that. Even though I can print my boarding pass at home, it states I must check in at the ticket counter before going through security. They always insist I place my carry on on the scale. I have not had that issue when flying US based airlines internationally, but within Europe it seems every airline wants to weigh my carry on at the ticket counter.

Posted by
11243 posts

So tell me Frank, how does my smaller than maximum carry on size bag that might weigh 19 lbs instead of the allowed 17 pounds affect you? I'm not taking up any more space. You wouldn't even notice if I didn't mention it.

I don't like people with oversized bags either. But the airline's arbitrary weight limit is just that, arbitrary. Why does one airline allow 10 kgs while another flying the exact same model aircraft allow only 8 kg?

I'm not going to argue with you because I had hand surgery this morning and typing isn't easy but I don't do things that inconveniences others. I just try to make my life easier.

Posted by
1887 posts

This one time? Back in college when I had a stronger back? I was returning to school from Christmas break and I carried the B&W television from my old bedroom on the plane, in a backpack. I think it was a JandD pack. They make very durable bags. I can't remember if anybody noticed or remarked. Good times.

Posted by
12882 posts

At SFO regardless of the airline I'm flying going over, Lufthansa, United, Br Air, Air France, I check in the spinner roller as the only check in piece. I also have a shoulder sack which is the carry on. No air line has ever asked me to weigh this carry on shoulder sack. Sometimes I put it on the scale only to see for myself what the weight is, usually ca 17-19 pounds, other times I leave on the floor and show it if the attendant asks to see it. No one has ever questioned the measurements or the weight of the sack at boarding either, just as you're about to hand over the boarding pass and proceed down the ramp...all very uneventful. As for scales at the gate, I have not noticed, only have seen the "box"...the "it has to fit in this box" box.