Along with all the other annoyances of traveling by air – being groped by the TSA, delays that always end up being your problem, and fellow passengers straight from the Stone Age – excess baggage fees are certainly up there.
This practice seems to be nothing more than a sneaky way for airlines to take your money: if they don’t ask me for my weight before allowing me to buy a ticket, there’s no reason for them to get upset if my suitcase weighs two pounds more than it should. Still, unfair though it may be, this policy seems to be here to stay.
This means that, if you pack too much and realize it too late, you either have to rummage through your personal belongings in front of the check-in desk or pay a lot to get all of your things on the plane. These fees are typically about ten times what you would pay to just mail the same stuff to yourself, and often far more than the actual cost of those spare toiletries or that highly rated air mattress.
The easiest solution to this is to own a cheap, lightweight travel scale so you can weigh your own luggage before you head to the airport. This digital scale offers a bunch of advantages over analog alternatives. It will remain calibrated and accurate regardless of how many times you use it: there’s no spring to stretch out over time. It’s also much, much easier to read: if you’re trying to hold a 40-pound suitcase at arm’s length, you’re bound to be trembling far too much to see whether it’s actually one pound over the limit – unless the weight is displayed in numbers on a decently-sized display.
This brings us to the way the handle is designed. Some similar products seem intended to be hung from a hotel closet’s door handle, but is breaking their furniture really a risk you want to take just minutes before checking out? The Etekcity EL11, on the other hand, can be gripped on either side of the balance point, allowing you to use both hands and read off the weight from the top.
Some people will like the fact that it includes a tare function: if you need to weigh something separately from its container, you can weigh the container first and let the machine calculate the difference. As an added bonus, this scale also includes a thermometer, though, since you’ll normally use your scale only indoors, it’s not clear how useful this actually is.