Flashback Friday: The Oddest Checked Luggage I’ve Ever Seen

FlashbackFriA couple of weeks back I posted about a museum featuring medical oddities and this week I want to share a different kind of odd post from the past for Flashback Friday.

I can’t recall seeing anything odd ever get checked at the airport up til our trip to Louisville and Nashville last December. At the counter next to ours, a man was trying to check two 50 pound dumbbells!

Here is the post:

  • The Oddest Checked Luggage I’ve Ever Seen

This post was originally published on December 29, 2012

a cash register at a checkout

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!

two weights on a metal surface

Invalid request error occurred.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.

a machine with a screen on it

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!

In the original post I asked if anyone else has seen an odd item being checked. I’d also love to hear if anyone has ever seen an odd item come out after a flight in the baggage area?

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