Some users have shared hacks for getting around baggage restrictions, such as hiding items in a shopping bag or stuffing extra items in a travel pillow. Others have gone to more extreme lengths, like wearing many of the clothes they plan to wear on their trip while boarding the airplane.
Now, a user on TikTok has gone viral with a controversial approach for getting a few extra pounds of storage onto a flight for no extra cost.
In a video with over 1.9 million views, the band Bed Sweater (@bed.sweater) showed their method for reducing the weight of their bag. To do this, one person puts their foot under the scale and pushes it upward, causing it to show a lower weight than is actually present.
“Kinda surprised this worked,” the band wrote in the text overlaying the video.
@bed.sweater the baggage lady was cool about it #airport #music #band #explore ♬ All Keyed Up – Ben Tankard
The caption seems to imply that the staff was aware of their trickery and simply let it slide, reading, “the baggage lady was cool about it.”
This isn’t the first time such a trick has gone viral. Earlier in the year, another TikToker posted a video showing a similar method, holding their toe under their bag to appear to reduce the weight.
While some were enthusiastic about the idea, others said that doing so has the potential to be dangerous.
“This is foolish. I do not recommend doing this,” wrote a user.
“You know, they measure the weight of the object for flight stability reasons… put too much weight in the wrong place and there goes the aircraft,” added another.
“So funny story, if enough people did this it would throw off the whole weight and balance of the airplane and cause them to boot passengers off,” claimed a third.
However, other users cast doubt on this allegation.
“But I can go buy a carry on in the terminal and stuff it full of products I also bought in the terminal and board just fine,” noted a commenter.
“Yes because 4 lbs will make a difference when they don’t weigh any of the passengers,” stated a second. “nice.”
A 2005 article in the New York Times noted that some believe that many airlines’ decision to add fees for additional weight in baggage was not to do with safety, but with profit.
“There was a revenue opportunity lying untouched,” David M. Rowell, publisher of The Travel Insider told author Joe Sharkey. “In the good old days, the weight limits were high and airlines routinely ignored them. Now they are lower and airlines police them vigorously.”
The article goes on to note that the idea of baggage weight being a safety issue is one largely created by the airlines themselves.
“The pitch was: ‘We care about [our] employees and their safety in the workplace. These heavy bags are too much for them to lift,’” explained Rowell. The message now, Rowell stated, is “‘But if you pay us a $25 penalty fee, we’ll let them do it.”‘
That said, there are some safety concerns that come with heavier bags; however, these mainly relate to carry-on luggage.
A 2018 article in Australian outlet ABC News offered a statement from Neil Hansford, the chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions. Hansford said that heavy carry-on bags mean that flyers may ask employees for assistance in lifting the bag, which can create workplace safety issues.
No matter the potential issues, many TikTokers admitted to utilizing this trick in the past.
“I’ve done that myself a few times,” confessed a user.
“PRO TIP: do this at those frozen yogurt places!!!!” exclaimed an additional TikToker.
The Daily Dot reached out to @bed.sweater via email.