Qantas to remove all ‘shonky’ analogue scales from airports

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Qantas will remove all analogue scales from airports after its shonky weighing system was exposed by NewsCorp journalists.

Independent testing revealed that the scales being used by Qantas inflate the weight of hand luggage by as much as 30 per cent.

Paul Riachi – CEO of Indi Imports and Rio Sound and Vision – returning with his family from the USA, weighed his bags before boarding his aircraft. They came in at 32kg.

When connecting to a domestic flight at Sydney airport, Qantas again weighed his luggage and Mr Riachi was told it was overweight at 38.3kg.

When he told staff nothing had been added to the bag between the USA and Sydney, he claimed Qantas staff  threatened him and said they’d call security when he objected to having to reduce the weight of the bags.

“Staff were aggressive, intimidating and demanding” said Mr Riachi.

He’s not the only one complaining about questionable scales. Many Qantas customers complained to News Corp that their scales were over-estimating carry-on bag weights, with several reporting that they’d weighed their bags at home, ensuring they were under the limit, yet were charged excess fees at the airport. Qantas charges $90 for overweight bags.

This set journos in to motion, testing Qantas scales with a bag known to weigh exactly 7kg. When weighed at the airport, the bag came in at 9kg on one scale and 7.7kg on another.

Jetstar scales could also be dodgy, says ChannelNews staff, who weighed a carry-on bag in their offices only to be told the same bag was over 8kg at the airport.

Some experts claim the discrepancy occurred because bathroom scales don’t accurately measure small amounts.

To get an accurate weight on bathroom scales, experts say you should first measure your own weight then get off and get back on while holding your carry-on, then subtract the second result from the first.

Since the furore, a Qantas spokesman said it was “gradually replacing analogue scales with digital scales at our major ports”.

Have you ever weighed your bag at home to ensure it was underweight, only to weigh it again at the airport and find out it was ‘over weight’? Do you think you have ever been unfairly charged excess baggage fees?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    Your story is BS Leon.
    We have our own analogue hand scales and ALWAYS pack to the ounce. Sometimes even over. We’ve never been challenged. If your story were correct we would have been every time!

    • 0

      I would think that most analogue scales can lose their accuracy over time, and should be regularly checked and calibrated. They are subjected to constant throwing of passengers baggage onto them. One would think that they should come under the same regulations as scales in any retail business do, and that is regular checks by the appropriate authorities in each state. I used to own a transport company years ago where we had a registered weighbridge and smaller platform scales (as used by the airlines)for weighing customers freight. These were subject to regular unannounced checks by weights and measures. Large fines were applicable if they were not within close parameters to the weights shown. Being mechanical, they can often get out of adjustment.

    • 0

      Off course it is BS Qantas is an honest company and would never cheat there customers,we can trust them to do the right thing(For Qantas) just like the big 4 banks do.

    • 0

      Good on you Mick!

  2. 0

    Just more money gouging from an Airline run by an overpaid CEO. Have read many posts on here about QANTAS & their unfriendly staff. QANTAS has really gone downhill since this CEO has been in charge, still getting his multimillion bonuses though

    • 0

      Totally agree. I wont travel Qantas because of Alan Joyce and his attitudes – I detest the man – and I know quite a few other people who feel the same. I remember so many awful things he has done. Before Joyce got his hands on Qantas, it was a lovely friendly airline that Australians could be proud of. No more.

    • 0

      Fully agree with the above two comments. It’s no longer the national airline which Australians were proud of, ever since A.Joyce took over, destroyed Aussie jobs by outsourcing them, ran down it’s quality, ripped off Aussies by not removing the fuel levies when fuel prices went down, and all the while increased his bonuses. Time for him to go (has been for a long time), and the shareholders need to act as the Govt looks too weak to act against him – maybe getting too many benefits for themselves.

    • 0

      I suggest replacing Joyce with Israel Folau.

    • 0

      The decline started long before Joyce ever set foot in the door. Many of you have forgotten Leigh Clifford and that other shocker Geoff Dixon.

      But sadly the decline started even before privatisation and when it was still government owned.

      They’ve only had one decent CEO in the last 40 odd years and that was James Strong. He probably had his faults – no-one is perfect – but he was a damned sight better than any of the rubbish that has followed him.

  3. 0

    I too have have been fleeced by Jetstar saying my carry on weighed a bit over 8 kg and they made me pay $60. I have since seen on one of my latest travel flights that excess over 7 kg carry on, this includes my handbag will be charged at $15 per extra kilo over. I was fleeced alright. What astounded me was they still load these overweight carry ons on the plane. Just a big money grab. I always weigh my bags before I check my large bag so I know My bag is not overweight. Should have scales at bag check in that have a print out of the weight.

    • 0

      I have been fleeced by Jetstar after weighing my bags at home. Why don’t we pay weight fee for us and the bag . Now that would be fair fare.

  4. 0

    If you’re really worried about the weight of your luggage, purchase a digital scale. Never use bathroom scales, as they can also be ‘out’.

    If your luggage is weighed at the airport and comes in overweight, then get your digital scales out and weigh the luggage in front of the staff. Then there cannot be any dispute.

    I know that my local airport has digital scales, so why are people still using analogue scales?

    Poor Qantas is in the firing line – again.

  5. 0

    Where is the regulatory authority CASA, all scales for this purpose are required to be calibrated at regular intervals in accordance with the mandatory approved quality procedures. Out of calibration scales can result in the aircraft weight and balance being outside the limits for flight.

  6. 0

    I think this is a beat up Qantas is an honest company just like the Big Banks they would never cheat there customers.

  7. 0

    I don’t suggest this is BS at all Leon as scales are notorious for getting out of sych with reality. I do note that I too have never been challenged…except when a couple times I knew I had inadvertently added items and would have been over. I have also found both Qantas and Jetstar quietly generous a couple of those times (the excess was smallish.)

    It is distasteful that this is raised as a revenue earner but over-weight would certainly cost airlines not only in fuel but in management so that it is reasonable to apply some cost and profit.

    • 0

      All the more shame on Qantas for not having their scales properly calibrate. If you read earlier posts there are very heavy penalties for inaccurate scales for ALL businesses from airlines, manufacturing to the local Woolies & coles & local butcher.
      But with Qantas they all their scales tested weigh to show a heavier bag so giving Qantas the opportunity to money gouge for excess, this is fraud, nothing else.

  8. 0

    If one scale is out of calibration, does that mean they’re out?



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