The Oddest Checked Luggage I’ve Ever Seen

While checking our one piece of luggage (Kim, Lucas and I shared one bag) and getting Lucas’ boarding pass for our current trip to Louisville & Nashville, I was amazed at what I saw at the counter to my left. One man was trying to check some of the oddest items I’ve ever seen.

We were at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), about to fly for the first time with Southwest Airlines.

Southwest might have one of the most generous checked baggage policies out there. They allow two checked pieces of baggage per ticketed customer. The maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches.

I think we all expect to see people checking various kinds of luggage, an oddly taped shut box or even a surf board on occasion.
However, the gentleman to my left was trying to check two 50 pound dumbbells!

At first I thought the guy worked for the airline and was checking the scales for accuracy but this was not the case. He really wanted to check his dumbbells!

When I realized what was going on, I started to listen to the exchange between the guy and the Southwest customer service agent. It was kind of comical in some ways. I’ll try my best to explain.

Since Southwest allows two pieces of checked baggage, up to 50 pounds each, the man figured he could bring along and check two 50 pound dumbbells. I guess the numbers add up, so why not was my feeling. (I can’t say that I would ever attempt to check such a ridiculous item)

There was a problem with checking the dumbbells and it wasn’t due to what they were. It was a weight issue- the scales were saying that the man’s 50 pound dumbbells actually weighed 52 pounds. The Southwest agent said that he would have to charge a fee of $50 due to the extra weight. He also mentioned that in 99% of these scenarios the person could just take a couple of things out of their bags but since they were weights there was nothing to take off. (Really??)

The man mentioned how he flew Southwest a lot and asked if there was any way they could help him out. The agent apologized and said that he could not. Before I walked away, I asked the man if he minded if I took a picture of his dumbbells. He didn’t mind and even turned one so I could see the 50 marked on it. We chatted for a minute or two and he mentioned that his brother gave him the dumbbells so he figured he could bring them along due to Southwest’s baggage policy. I told him how I found it funny that SW was saying his 50 pound dumbbells weighed 52 and told him that he must be stronger than he realized!
I then wished him good luck while he stayed, still trying to get his dumbbells to fly at no extra cost.

Kim and I laughed about it as we walked away and thought nothing of it until we were getting ready to board. The dumbbell man spotted us and told us how he got the dumbbells on the flight and did not have to pay the over-weight fee!

Good for him! I learned two things due to this.

  1. If I ever want to buy dumbbells and travel with them, it is allowed
  2. Dumbbells might not be their advertised weight (or Southwest’s scales are off by a couple of pounds)

If you’ve ever seen an odd item checked (or try to get checked) for a flight, I’d love to hear what the item was! Feel free to leave a comment below!

7 thoughts on “The Oddest Checked Luggage I’ve Ever Seen

  1. You said…

    “The dumbbell man spotted us and told us how he got the dumbbells on the flight and did not have to pay the over-weight fee! “

    Well…are you keeping us in suspense??? HOW did he finally do it???

    1. Sorry! I wasn’t trying to keep anyone in suspense. We literally saw the dumbbell man as we were handing our tickets to the agent to board the plane. Dumbbell man was waiting on line for his turn to board.
      He said hello when he saw us so I asked if he got his dumbbells on. He quickly told us he did and did not have to pay.

  2. Since they are charging money for overweight bags, the scales in question are subject to stringent state and federal regulations. An incorrect scale could result in an FBI investigation and it’s no joke. My husband works for a scale company and has given expert testimony in at least one federal investigation. I don’t know if Southwest is wrong but I’ve had questions about the accuracy of airline scales before. This may be a place where fines/federal penalties are waiting to happen if the airlines don’t follow the rules. Accurate weights and measures are actually mentioned somewhere in the articles of the U.S. constitution…accurate weights are that vital to honest business transactions.

  3. Peachfront: Interesting… I have no clue why a 50 pound dumbbell (2) would register as weighing 52 pounds. Definitely odd.

    Rapid Travel Chai: Glad you liked! Once I saw those dumbbells on the scale, I had to find out what the story was.

  4. I would also love for you to have had a photo of the weight of them it showed.

    This also reminds me of the comic who said he uses a chainsaw case as his carry-on bag to have the most fun at the TSA checkpoint each trip! 🙂

    1. Funny- Kim said the same thing after we walked away.
      I didn’t want to bug the guy so I tried to get a few decent photos and then leave him to deal with his issue!

      I like the chainsaw idea. Oh that would be fun to watch in person!

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