I'll be using Bangkok Airways and Singapore Air during my trip to Thailand.
I realized on their websites that their limits for carry on bags are 5kg (~10.5lbs) and 7kg (~15lbs).
That seems extremely light. The camera gear I'm bringing (slr and 3 small-medium lenses) adds up to 9lbs alone!
Do these airlines ever check people's bags with a scale? And if so, what can you do if you're over the weight limit?
I'm bringing very little to the trip, just enough to fill a 40L backpack. I can't cut the weight down much more, and REALLY don't want to check any bags.
Any advice much appreciated!
I wouldn't worry, never had my carry on weighed. If it's not a big bag they don't even look at it. I've even seen some people take these rather big bags on the plane which take up half the luggage locker. If you are female you can put things in your handbag and if male get one of those day shoulder packs (handy for passport anyway).
i have one like this but a bit smaller. you can take this in addition to a small backpack
Yes, some airlines will check.
I went to Tonga recently on Air NZ with a carry on only. In my case, I had a small backpack (7.15kg) that had snorkle gear, clothing and toiletries PLUS a shoulder bag that I called my handbag, which contained my SLR with heavy lens, a small point and shoot, iPod and Kindle. They weighed my pack in at checkin and let me go with the .25kg extra. They didn't bother weighing my shoulder bag. In the departure lounge, they had people walking around again checking everyone's bags - and some people were made to check in their bags at last minute.
You are allowed one main bag and one personal bag (laptop bag, camera bag, handbag/purse, or similar). Get all your heavy stuff into the smaller personal bag and make it look as light as possible. (I carried the LowePro Passport Sling which is actually a camera bag that doesn't really look like one.) Wear your heaviest clothing item(s) until you get on to the plane.
On a small flight in Flores - they even weighed the passengers!
I haven't flown SQ (Singapore Air) in a long time but there is a forum called sqtalk.com and see here:
I wouldn't count on being able to sneak an overweight carry-on bag. It all depends on the whims of the gate agents and some might be strict and some are lax. The safe bet is to bring a cloth duffel bag so in case there is an issue you can transfer your clothes and keep your camera gear in the backpack.
I've flown on both Singapore Airlines and Bangkok Air ... I don't remember them being particularly difficult but it was a long time ago so I'm not sure.
You'll probably be OK if your bag looks small enough to fit into an overhead locker but Goonistick's suggestion of bringing a very light dufflebag (or any very lightweight bag that can be zipped up and locked) is excellent.
Even if you don't need it on those flights you can use it to separate dirty laundry or as a daybag etc while you're travelling and you'll be able to use it to carry extra stuff home on the way back. Don't know about anyone else but I ALWAYS seem to end up with more luggage than I arrived with when I'm in SE Asia!
Does your camera have a strap? I'm just thinking that, if you arrive at the airport and see them weighing other passenger's carry-ons, you could hang you camera around your neck before you go to the desk (and hopefully they wouldn't think to tell you to add that to the weight).
Also, weirdly, last time my carry-on was weighed and found to be too heavy, the check-in lady told me to take my laptop out and re-weigh it. Presto, it's within weight. She said that my bag would therefore be classified as within acceptable weight, as my laptop was a hand-carry and hand-check item (I still don't understand this, but it got me out of a tight spot so who am I to quibble!)
And, of course, be very polite and pleasant to the gate and check-in staff, to maximise your chances of them letting you get away with stuff.
"And, of course, be very polite and pleasant to the gate and check-in staff, to maximise your chances of them letting you get away with stuff."
Excellent advise that will go a long way in any aspect of your travel - whether it be dealing with guesthouse owners, local police, immigration, etc, etc. Be pleasant and show respect - and you'll get yourself out of tricky situations MUCH more easily!