Weighing scales may seem inoffensive but a Bedfordshire airport has managed to turn them into an object of “fury,” to quote a major news website.
Luton International Airport has introduced a 50p levy for the use of the hub’s weighing scales. The fee is likely to upset the travelling public, but there is no indication that Luton’s new scales, numbering four, are a mandatory expense, or that conventional weighing devices have been removed from the airport’s main terminal.
However, even if the airport has turned all of its scales into coin-operated mercenaries, travellers can save money and time by weighing their luggage at home on a set of ordinary bathroom scales, a course of action recommended by the Air Transport Users Council.
Luton’s ‘pay as you weigh’ scheme, to coin a phrase, is designed to eliminate delays at check-in desks by ensuring that flyers are aware of the total weight of their luggage, and whether their suitcase exceeds the limits imposed by their airline. The scales have a “large, easy-to-read screen,” says a notice on Luton’s website, which can also display a list of “allowances and excess charges.”
Worryingly, such ‘supplemental’ levies are often a means of recouping financial losses, as is the case at Cardiff Airport, where a service fee was recently applied to the hiring of parking spaces, and at Durham Tees Valley, which recently began charging visitors for using security checkpoints.
It is worth noting that baggage scales can be used free of charge at all other London airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, reinforcing the idea that Luton is trying to refill its dwindling coffers. The airport has also introduced the controversial £1 drop-off fee and a £2 charge for the use of baggage trolleys in recent months.