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I read (mirror) that some jackets are designed to carry many items to bypass the weight restrictions on carry-on luggage (often rather low, e.g. 7 or 10kg). Do airlines sometimes check the weight of the passengers' clothes?

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Do airlines sometimes check the weight of the passengers' clothes?

No.

I'm sure they'd love to close that loophole to generate more revenue, but the devil is in the details: They would have to define what "clothing" exactly means and how it's measured and what the limits are. Unless you want to strip everyone naked, you would have to restrict this to "outer garment" which can easily be fudged, e.g. just wear a coat with lots of pockets but no shirt underneath. "Normal" clothing is also heavily dependent on the weather/climate at source/destination, so it would be hard to set one-size-fits-all limits.

No airline that I know has a policy like this and I have never seen it happening. However, I do see passengers stuffing things in their pockets or transfer clothing to their body, to work around a weight limit. I got flagged once on a flight from Hong Kong (very hot) to Zurich (very cold). I offered the check in agent to pull my coat out of my carry and just wear it and they grudgingly relented as it was obvious that I would not pay anything extra.

In cases, where exact weight is really important (for balancing and fuel), they will weigh everything including your body, not just your clothes.

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  • Some cheap airlines are difficult with multi-pocket coats stuffed full, but even they don't seem to cause trouble if you actually wear it. Sep 27 at 14:43
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The airlines on which I faced the lowest carryon limits were mostly in the Pacific to and from very small islands. For example

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Some of these (the flight from Port Vila to Tanna in Vanuatu and from Apia to Taveuni in Fiji) weighed the passengers -- fully clothed, of course. So at least in spirit, yes. However, this was for weight-and-balance, not to tell you that you are too heavy to fly.

I have never seen just the clothes weighed though. And in North America and Europe I have never seen passengers weighed.

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  • 3kg... yes, enjoy your flight! Sep 25 at 0:20
  • they'll weigh the carryon but not your coat.
    – Max
    Sep 25 at 0:21
  • "Strip and put your clothes on the scale, sir"
    – WGroleau
    Sep 25 at 0:37
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    I've been weighed (for weight & balance) before flying within North America, but only when flying on very small aircraft like the Cessnas that fly between Vieques and San Juan in Puerto Rico. But it's of course the total weight of a passenger, including their clothing, which matters for this.
    – mlc
    Sep 25 at 1:00
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    I have likewise been weighed (total weight, body + clothes) before boarding and helicopter (for a Grand Canyon tour). The smaller the aircraft the more important actual weight is, probably.
    – jcaron
    Sep 25 at 8:47
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It depends, but note that such items are not considered clothes, but accessories, and some airlines have maximum weight for them (coats, umbrella, purse, etc.).

Usually they never weight clothes, but there are some people which abuse the system, and airline employee may be able to spot such people. But also if the spot such people, they may ignore the fact, but it depends, e.g.: how many people are abusing the system (company may want to stop or reduce it), if dispatcher want less weight (on some flight, or if there is special cargo: there are limits on airplane weight, and sometime they are near the limit, maybe because also bad weather), etc. (and be nice. If you are rude, the crew may be less tolerant to you).

Note: Maybe airlines will not weight them, but they can force you yo remove the extra stuffs and put into hand baggage (and this can be weighted without problem). And the problem is in the aircraft: if crew find it, and they find not place to store it (not on your seat!) or if they find it as a safety problem (in case of emergency evacuation), the captain may deplane you losing all your rights (captain has much discretion on this, so no need to check minuscule points in the rules).

If you want to do it, do not advice the press until you are back home. I never understand why some British people should do this, AND call the press to show what they did.

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  • I think it would also depend on how many there are on each flight (average or actual flight.) It is easier to ignore if there is only one, much harder if every third person wears one.
    – Willeke
    Sep 27 at 14:33

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