A while ago there was a complaint on this page from a Jetstar Passenger who claimed that her suitcase weight differently on 3 separate Jetstar airport scales at Phuket Airport. This doesn't come as a surprise as we are dealing with Jetstar here but obviously is of a major concern. Jetstar may be pocketing thousands of dollars from unsuspecting passengers for extra baggage due to faulty scales. So I took upon myself to ask a few questions and see if I can get some answers from Jetstar. Of course I wasn't holding my breath for Jetstar to respond. And as per Jetstar culture I did not receive any response. So I went right to the top and send an email to David Hall who is the CEO of the company. You may be interested to read my email to David Hall and their response. Incidentally I have included the email address of both David Hall as well as Nick who is the senior customer liaison at Jetstar in case anyone wants know !!!!
My email to David Hall .........
Dear Mr Hall,
Firstly my apologies for writing to you directly rather than going through the normal inquiry protocol. However I had already lodged my query via Jetstar’s general enquiry page on two separate occasions (May and June 2013) but have not had the courtesy of a reply nor even an acknowledgement for the receipt of my request. My queries relates to the accuracy of Jetstar’s airport check-in scales and the process that Jetstar adopts to ensure that they are calibrated regularly. I will explain where my concern stems from.
In May 2013 there was an entry on Jetstar,s Facebook by a lady with the name of ZuiMei Toh who wrote about a specific incident whilst flying back from Phuket to Australia. Upon weighing her luggage at the Jetstar Check-in counter she was told that her luggage was 5.3kg above her allowance of 20kg. When she complained that she had checked her luggage prior to leaving home and that she was within her allowance, one of your airport staff moved her luggage to the next weighing counter. This time it measure 23.1k. A further measure on a third scale measured only 23.4kg. Even assuming that one of your scales is correct and she was over her limit, the discrepancy between your scales were 2.4kg. That is an error margin of over 10%. At the same time another of your passengers called Ash Phillips also claimed that she had also experienced the same discrepancy a few months before and that as a regular passenger she always asks for a second measure if her luggage is shown to be over the limit. She claims that there is always a large discrepancy between the different measurements. Both cases were reported on your Facebook page and on www.dontflyjetstar.com.au.
The reason why I am asking for clarification is because in 2011 I was also told that my luggage was 2.5kg above my allowance. At that time I did not question the accuracy of your scales and paid the extra fee. However I now question if that charge was legitimate or was as a result of incorrect scale calibration at Jetstar’s check-in counter. I am therefore respectfully ask Jetstar to respond my queries which is listed below. I believe that as a consumer I am entitled to an explanation for an additional fee that I paid and now doubt it’s legitimacy:
1. How often does Jetstar calibrate their airport check-in scales ?
2. If they are calibrated regularly, is there a record kept at the check-in to show when they were carried out ?
3. Do you keep a record of how much the scale was out at the time of calibration. Is that record kept at the check-in counter ?
4. What is an acceptable error of margin on Jetstar’s scales and who sets that figure ?
5. Is the process of calibration carried out by Jetstar staff or an independent person. Does it comply with any regulatory requirement ?
6. Finally, are any record of calibration available to consumers when their luggage is being weighed? Can the consumer request to inspect the record for assurance that they are not being charged fr excess luggage weight by mistake.
I believe these are legitimate questions and as a past consumer who has been charged for excess luggage I am entitled to an explanation, especially in light of the couple of recorded cases with Ms Toh and Ms Phillips experiences.
I would be grateful if I could receive answers to my questions either directly from your office or if you are too busy if you could direct your customer service department to respond instead. Thanks you
David's response ............
Dear Amir Taefi
Thank you for writing to me.
We take such matters seriously.
I will ask my team to review and respond directly to you.
There are procedures and regulations governing scale calibration that we fully comply with.
Jetstar's customer service response ................
Nick - Jetstar Senior Customer Advocate
Case ID : CAS-838357-R35V2V
Dear Mr Taefi,
Thank you for contacting David Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Jetstar Airways Australia and New Zealand. David would like to thank you for taking the time to pass on your comments and has asked that I respond on his behalf.
I understand from your email that you have made previous submissions related to this concern and have yet to receive a response to these, please accept my apologies. While we have located your correspondence of May this year, we were not able to identify any correspondence received from you in June.
Please see Jetstar’s response to your queries below:
How often does Jetstar calibrate their airport check-in scales?
Jetstar requires that airport check in scales be calibrated annually.
If they are calibrated regularly, is there a record kept at check-in to show when they were carried out?
Jetstar requires that calibration certificates be retained and stored at the airport, however, these may not be stored at the check-in desk.
Do you keep a record of how much the scale was out at the time of calibration? Is that record kept at the check-in counter?
Jetstar does keep a record of discrepancies at the time of calibration, which is recorded on the calibration certificate, however this record is not kept at the check-in counter.
What is an acceptable margin of error on Jetstar’s scales and who sets that figure?
Jetstar’s scales are tested by an independent third party. The acceptable variance is 0.5 kg or less, set by the testing company.
Is the process of calibration carried out by Jetstar staff or an independent person? Does it comply with any regulatory requirement?
It is a regulatory requirement that scales are tested by an independent authorised testing organisation. Jetstar complies with all regulatory requirements.
Are calibration records available to consumers when their luggage is being weighed? Can the consumer request to inspect the record for assurance that they are not being charged for carrying baggage in excess of their allowance?
All scales have a compliance stamp. Jetstar customers can view the stamp when they are at the point of check-in. Calibration certificates are not available at the check-in desk, but are retained by Jetstar.
I understand that you have written in to us regarding other Jetstar passengers’ experiences. As Jetstar is obligated to respect the privacy of all its customers, as you can appreciate, I am unable to engage in any further discussion about other Jetstar passengers.
I trust this information is of assistance.
Nick - Jetstar Senior Customer Advocate