Dear Heloise: With the increase in airline screening for overweight bags at check-in, here are two simple hints that can save you time and embarrassment:
First, have the clerk weigh your heaviest bag. Then if it is overweight, you can take out some items and put them in your other bags that might be lighter. Too often I have seen people weigh their biggest bag last and then wish that they could retrieve their lighter bags that already went down the conveyor belt into the depths of the airport.
Second, carry an empty fold-up bag in your luggage. Not only is it helpful at the end of your trip if you have bought more souvenirs than your initial luggage can hold, but at the departure counter you can take items from your heavy bag and check them in a lighter-weight second or third bag and avoid hefty extra-weight fees. – Dr. Mark, via e-mail
It would help to check the airline Web site or call to see what the guidelines are. – Heloise