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Complaints of luggage weight discrepancy: Centre asks states, UTs to inspect, recalibrate weighing machines at airports

The Centre has asked all states and Union Territories to conduct inspection and recalibration of weighing machines at airports across the country after some passengers informally complained about their luggage weighing more than the actual weight on the machines used by airlines.

According to sources, the Legal Metrology Division, which comes under the Department of Consumer Affairs, has written a letter to the Controller of Legal Metrology of all states and UTs to conduct verification and stamping of weighing machines used at airports for weighing consumers’ luggage. The letter, sent on December 19, has also been marked to the Chairman, Airport Authority of India, for information and necessary action, the sources said.

“Millions of passengers pass through our airports every day; it is important that the weighing systems being used at the airports are completely accurate and trustworthy, especially when passengers are required to pay for excess baggage,” states the letter.

It says, “To further augment the trust between consumer and airlines, it is requested that the inspection of these weighing machines may be done regularly. However, it may be ensured that said inspection may be undertaken in off peak hours so that it does not hamper the normal functioning of the airlines.”

According to the sources, there were some informal complaints about weighing machines at airports. “For instance, a person said when he checked out from a hotel, the weight of his suitcase was 15 kg. However, the same suitcase weighed 16.5 kg on an airline’s weighing machine at the airport. After such complaints, we asked the Legal Metrology officials to verify and recalibrate the weighing machines at the airport,” said the source.

“Initially, the recalibration was done at Delhi airport. Thereafter, it was decided to conduct such exercise at some other airports, including Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru,” the source said.

As per the Legal Metrology Act 2009, the Consumer Affairs Department is mandated to ensure public guarantee from the point of view of security and accuracy of the weighments and measurements.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the total number of passengers (domestic and international) was recorded at 190.60 million during 2022-23. The DGCA’s monthly air traffic report provides data on passenger complaints. However, no data on weight-related complaints is available.

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