Flying during the holidays can be a real headache, and this holiday it may be an even bigger pain. In my recent travels, I’ve noticed airlines are enforcing their baggage rules more strictly.
During a recent trip, I was stunned when the ticket counter agent told me to put my bag on the scale. Two other ticket agents walked past me as I swiped my credit card to retrieve my ticket for self check-in, but this agent seemed determined to argue with me. She told me the bag was too big to fit in the overhead compartment. I’ve flown with this bag multiple times a year for at least 4 years with no problem. Why was this woman suddenly giving me a hard time?
For five minutes, we argued back and forth about the size of my bag. I’ll be the first to admit my bag is not the smallest, but it always fits with ease in the overhead compartment. What irritated me more about this whole debate was that I knew we were taking a plane that required gate checked bags. Nobody was getting their bags on the plane. So, was this woman simply giving me a hard time to get money out of me?
She made me take the bag over to the luggage compartment on display and try to fit my bag in it. Then, she yelled at me from the ticket counter telling me it had to go in the other way. Nothing was good enough for this woman, and it was a moment that was too hard to believe because it was so unexpected. I fit my bag in the metal display, and went on my way.
At the gate, the same woman was taking tickets from boarding passengers. She stopped the man in front of me because she thought his bag was too big too. He was just as stunned as I was since it was a duffel bag he travels with often. He fit the duffel bag in the demo overhead bin and boarded the plane frustrated. He sat next to me on the plane, and I told him my horror story too. We laughed.
Then, during a girls trip some of my friends talked about their horror experience not realizing I’d had problems too. These incidents happened on different airlines and different trips. While I understand airline employees have to enforce the rules, this has nothing to do with security and it’s a rule that hasn’t been enforced for years. Is it a coincidence that now airlines make big bucks off those checked bag fees?
Just make sure you pack even more patience before heading to the airport. What frustrating thing will happen at the airport next?
Unlike most things in life, once you book an airline ticket you’re stuck with it unless you want to pay big bucks to change the reservation. Most airlines don’t make it an easy decision as it’s sometimes cheaper to just book a one way ticket to change your flight. All those fees add up for the airlines. Between reservation changes and baggage fees, airlines collected $5.7 billion in fees in 2010.
Delta stood out from the crowd collecting more than $470-thousand dollars more in 2010 than 2009 in just baggage fees. American came in second but made far less money — just over $105-thousand dollars in baggage fees.
I refuse to pay those fees and couldn’t tell you the last time I checked baggage. Luggage alone would easily add $100 to a family’s tab if they were to take a trip. Think of all the stuff you need to pack for young kids.
Click here to see how much your favorite airline collected in reservation cancellation and change fees
Click here to see how much your favorite airline collected in baggage fees
Image via Wikipedia
Anytime I check luggage at the airport, I wonder if I’ll ever see it again. Even with fewer people checking bags because of the fees, you still worry that a checked bag will get lost and never make it to your destination. According to the latest government data, your chance of a damaged, lost, or delayed baggage are highest on American Eagle Airlines, and least likely on Air Tran Airways.
Losing your baggage is a big hassle and really impacts your vacation especially if it’s on a cruise which happened to me several years ago. Not knowing where your luggage is located and when or if it will arrive is one of the worst things.
Now, one airline is helping ease your mind with a system that lets you track your luggage as it makes its way on and off planes and through the airport systems.
If you fly and check bags on Delta, your luggage will be treated like a trackable piece of mail. You can track the bag by your last name and bag tag number. If you don’t have a smartphone, there will be self-service kiosks at 18 of Delta’s busiest airports. You’ll be able to see where your bag is, the carousel it will arrive on, and file a claim if it’s damaged or doesn’t arrive.
If your bag is delayed for more than 12 hours, Delta says it will give you a $25 transportation credit voucher. You’ll get $50 for two checked bags. It’s unclear if the credit voucher will be on top of the baggage fee you paid. Starting in August, new government rules will kick in that require airlines reimburse the checked baggage fee for misplaced bags.
It’s good to see luggage is finally getting some attention. For years, it’s been an after-thought. Our focus has been on all the other issues associated with air travel. Now, if you’re going to pay for the checked baggage service at least you know you’ll get your money back if the service is not up to par.