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"Abusive Overcharging in Europe"

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bambbbam2

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From:
'Abusive overcharging' in Europe - TODAY: Travel - MSNBC.com


"In the United States, most airlines enforce a policy of two checked bags per passenger, each not to exceed 50 pounds. And at some airlines, a bag weighing more than 50 but under 70 pounds will cost you an additional $25. It's annoying, and for many passengers, it's an inconvenience, but consider this: At least you're not flying an airline called easyJet.

A few weeks ago, I decided to check out European low cost carrier easyJet, and made a booking with one of my staffers to fly from Luton airport outside of London to Paris. The fares were certainly cheap enough — about $50 each way. And there was an additional optional box to check on the internet booking form: The airline said I was allowed only one check-in bag with a 20kg (44-pound) limit, but if I checked the box and paid an additional fee — five British pounds per passenger (or about $20 for two people) I'd be allowed to check two bags. I checked the box. It seemed fair enough.


I arrived two hours ahead of time for my flight to Paris, and that's when the airline hit me with a whammy, and a big one."
 

tuapekastar

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As the chap says, it's all there in the fine print. It does indicate that you need to be ultra-careful, read and re-read all the fine print, and assume nothing when travelling with some LCCs like those mentioned.

As I was reading the early part of the story I thought perhaps the writer (being a pretty experienced traveller) knew exactly what was going to happen and was doing it deliberately to create the story, but I don't know that the budget would have extended to >1K USD just for that.
 

d15.in.oz

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Rightfully angry at the excessive luggage charges...but in terms of airline travel - Americans aren't use to a free market, where choice means choice! AND airlines go bust for real!

(Personally, I do not believe it is the government's role to set the weight/piece limit as the same for every traveller on every airline, or stop foreign carriers competing locally!)

Pricing & service innovations come from an open, competitive market; a protected market only serves to produce high pay packets for lawyers/lobbyists/CEOs/pilots/...
 

Evan

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Yep thats just the way it works !
Sure the extra is crazy but you know cheap flights = expensive something.
Its peoples choice to fly these airlines. This is why i choose to fly the major airlines even at some additional cost because i am a light packer and i often weigh my back pack bag (95l hiking pack) in at 13-15kg, but the large bag i recently took for a long trip was 26kg ! No way you would ever get that on most cheap airlines these days.

(When shopping for a bag recently i paid very careful attention to the empty weight, otherwise most of my allowances would be for the bag and not its contents !)

E
 

JohnK

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Unfortunately the continuing trend is for passengers choosing to fly on LCCs. Pay for a cheap ticket then do not expect the benefits and customer service provided by full service carriers.

Agree that the additional baggage charges were over the top but they are providing the service and setting the prices....
 

Dave Noble

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Im not sure what his main issue is.

He was allowed 20Kg allowance with 1 bag maximum. By paying GBP5 extra he was allowed 20Kg with a 2 bag maximum. If he turned up with 60Kg, then he would be 40Kg over the allowance. I don't see that there is any small print issue there. 40Kg excess fees are expensive on the weight based system 40 Kg at GBP6 per kilo ( which is to be fair , a competitive rate ) is GBP240 . This would come to approximately USD473 at the current rate so sounds like he may have been overcharged ( or his bank has some hideous currency exchange fees )

This is not dissimilar to that which the other major carriers would likely charge ( other than BA who moved to a piece based system recently and charges GBP60 (48 is prepaid) per additional piece

Europe is NOT the USA and it might be an idea for the US journalist to realise it

Dave
 

Reggie

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You have to be careful and look at your options. I was in the middle of a done4 in the US and had some last minute flights come up that I needed to take, and couldn't get AA so booked online with NWA, and they even took my aussie visa card. Unfortunately I couldn't justify the huge extra expense for the first class seat, and new I would have to pay extra for luggage as I had 2 cases over the 50 pound limit. Anyway at the airport, I had to self checkin using my passport and low and behold up comes an offer to upgrade both flights for a mere US$100, now I new I was up for US$75 in excess baggage, but thought if it seems to goog to be true, it is. So I asked the attendant if this was correct and he said yes. So I got my upgrade, and being in first, no excess baggage, effectively upgraded for US$25.;) :D :D
 

Dave Noble

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JohnK said:
Unfortunately the continuing trend is for passengers choosing to fly on LCCs. Pay for a cheap ticket then do not expect the benefits and customer service provided by full service carriers.

Agree that the additional baggage charges were over the top but they are providing the service and setting the prices....
The rates were not over the top and definately not a feature of an LCC. The major carriers charge excess fees. For LHR-CDG , the full single fare is GBP346 so the excess rate in most cases would be GBP3.46 per kilogramme. On a run to Paris the Easyjet rate of GBP6 to all Europe destinations is higher than the norm but on others they are similar or even lower

Dave
 

tuapekastar

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Dave Noble said:
Im not sure what his main issue is.

He was allowed 20Kg allowance with 1 bag maximum. By paying GBP5 extra he was allowed 20Kg with a 2 bag maximum. If he turned up with 60Kg, then he would be 40Kg over the allowance. I don't see that there is any small print issue there.
This appears to be the crux of his story. It would appear he (mis)interpreted that by paying GBP5 for the privilege of checking in 2 bags, that this translated to 2 x (max each) 20kg bags ie. potentially 40kg. And I have to say that the way it is presented in the story, it wouldn't be too difficult for people to misinterpret it. OTOH you'd have to be suss about an offer to double your checked baggage weight for just GBP5.

A cynic might even say it's deliberately misleading in order to make some easy(jet) money (not me though ;) ).
 

Dave Noble

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tuapekastar said:
This appears to be the crux of his story. It would appear he (mis)interpreted that by paying GBP5 for the privilege of checking in 2 bags, that this translated to 2 x (max each) 20kg bags ie. potentially 40kg. And I have to say that the way it is presented in the story, it wouldn't be too difficult for people to misinterpret it. OTOH you'd have to be suss about an offer to double your checked baggage weight for just GBP5.

A cynic might even say it's deliberately misleading in order to make some easy(jet) money (not me though ;) ).
I checked the Easyjet website and this is the wording on the site for the option to add a bag

easyjet said:
One piece of checked-in hold baggage per person, up to 20 Kg, free of charge. All additional pieces of baggage and excess baggage (over 20 Kg) will be charged for. Additional pieces of checked-in hold baggage are subject to a charge of £5.00 if you pay online, or £10.00 if you pay at the airport. The total weight allowance for all pieces of checked-in hold baggage is 20 Kg. Excess baggage fees are charged for each Kg exceeding 20 Kg.
it also says next to this
easyjet said:
Payment of additional hold bag fees does not increase each passenger's free baggage weight allowance of 20 Kg. Excess baggage charges will be payable at the airport if your hold baggage weighs more than 20 Kg in total.
The highlighting I have used is the same as the website. I don't see that there is anything misleading to be fair to EZ. I think that it clearly states that the GBP5 extra does not entitle the passenger to any additional allowance in weight.

Dave
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Dave Noble said:
Im not sure what his main issue is.

He was allowed 20Kg allowance with 1 bag maximum. By paying GBP5 extra he was allowed 20Kg with a 2 bag maximum. If he turned up with 60Kg, then he would be 40Kg over the allowance. I don't see that there is any small print issue there. 40Kg excess fees are expensive on the weight based system 40 Kg at GBP6 per kilo ( which is to be fair , a competitive rate ) is GBP240 . This would come to approximately USD473 at the current rate so sounds like he may have been overcharged ( or his bank has some hideous currency exchange fees )

This is not dissimilar to that which the other major carriers would likely charge ( other than BA who moved to a piece based system recently and charges GBP60 (48 is prepaid) per additional piece

Europe is NOT the USA and it might be an idea for the US journalist to realise it

Dave
Agree totally.

For someone as experienced as the journalist he should know that things work differently in different parts of the world and thus the need to check the rules, which BTW are not hidden away on the booking site.
 

simongr

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Pandering to the masses again - "Ooh look how mean and awful the airlines are - they overcharged me and obfuscated the rules - they are in the worng".

Sheesh - he knows in the US that he will be charged $25, $50 +++ for bags over 50lbs in whY (and F) so thinks he can get an extra 50lbs for US$10? Does that sound too good to be true? I think it does.

Some people complain bitterly about LCCs - but it seems often that they are happy to take the cheap fare but not the cheap no frills part of the flight...
 

Kiwi Flyer

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simongr said:
Some people complain bitterly about LCCs - but it seems often that they are happy to take the cheap fare but not the cheap no frills part of the flight...
Excess baggage charges would be similar on full service airlines in europe (assuming not waived).
 

d15.in.oz

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Thinking for a moment… just because an airline puts it in its terms/conditions, doesn’t make it equitable!

In an oligopolistic market, an airline could put anything in its terms; even deny that by purchasing a ticket they have entered into a contract of carriage with you!

Examples of where the government should be regulating, in my opinion, when airlines start to state the following –
  • The airline does not guarantee it will be able to carry you and your Baggage in accordance with the date and time of the flights specified.”
  • “the airline excludes liability for any costs, expenses, losses or damages incurred by the Passenger as a result of failure to meet a schedule.”
We need to be able to rely on our service providers, to a reasonable extent, to deliver a reasonable service. (For example a cancelled flight, due to maintenance problems with the operating aircraft, on a carrier that has reduced its maintenance levels/costs - is not fair, in my opinion, for the consumer to bare.)

P.S. I do not think the original story's "overweight luggage charges" were reasonable, regardless of their market "competitiveness" and being "shown" during the booking process.
 
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Kiwi Flyer

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d15.in.oz said:
Thinking for a moment… just because an airline puts it in its terms/conditions, doesn’t make it equitable!

In an oligopolistic market, an airline could put anything in its terms; even deny that by purchasing a ticket they have entered into a contract of carriage with you!

Examples of where the government should be regulating, in my opinion, when airlines start to state the following –
  • The airline does not guarantee it will be able to carry you and your Baggage in accordance with the date and time of the flights specified.
  • the airline excludes liability for any costs, expenses, losses or damages incurred by the Passenger as a result of failure to meet a schedule.

We need to be able to rely on our service providers, to a reasonable extent, to deliver a reasonable service. (For example a cancelled flight, due to maintenance problems with the operating aircraft, on a carrier that has reduced its maintenance levels/costs - is not fair, in my opinion, for the consumer to bare.)
Would you require airlines to provide a guarantee? On what terms? If a flight is 30 minutes late does that mean it has failed? What if it is 60? What if the airport is closed? What if weather prevented the flight / delayed it / forced a reroute? What if the delay is knock on effect? Etc. How would you deal with all these types of situations?
 

Kiwi Flyer

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d15.in.oz said:
P.S. I do not think the original story's "overweight luggage charges" were reasonable, regardless of their market "competitiveness" and being clearly shown during the booking process.
What would you class as reasonable? What about the effect on base fare? Is a 20 GBP higher fare charged to everyone fair?
 

d15.in.oz

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Kiwi Flyer said:
Would you require airlines to provide a guarantee? On what terms? If a flight is 30 minutes late does that mean it has failed? What if it is 60? What if the airport is closed? What if weather prevented the flight / delayed it / forced a reroute? What if the delay is knock on effect? Etc. How would you deal with all these types of situations?
I do not seek to deny that there are many variables, which determine whether a flight will operate as scheduled.


However, I believe, we need to have a “bill of rights” to spell out what is reasonable. Not just have to rely on the good will of an airline, particularly one that has decided to put clauses in its standard contract, like those I have outlined.
 

d15.in.oz

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Kiwi Flyer said:
Is a 20 GBP higher fare charged to everyone fair?
Loaded questions like that would get you a job on an Australian TV current affairs show.:p :D


I do like a system where you can pre-purchase any checked luggage service (by piece & weight) that you may require, at the time of booking. This would prompt an infrequent customer to shop around if the price is too high, rather than wait until the airport and wanting to board their aeroplane, before being informed of the excess charges!
 

Kiwi Flyer

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d15.in.oz said:
I do not seek to deny that there are many variables, which determine whether a flight will operate as scheduled.

However, I believe, we need to have a “bill of rights” to spell out what is reasonable. Not just have to rely on the good will of an airline, particularly one that has decided to put clauses in its standard contract, like those I have outlined.
In Europe they already have such. However reports are it is very difficult for passengers to enforce, since it is easy for airlines to say circumstances are out of their control (even despite onus of proof is on the airline).
 

Kiwi Flyer

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d15.in.oz said:
Loaded questions like that would get you a job on an Australian TV current affairs show.:p :D

I do like a system where you can pre-purchase any checked luggage service (by piece & weight) that you may require, at the time of booking. This would prompt an infrequent customer to shop around if the price is too high, rather than wait until the airport and wanting to board their aeroplane, before being informed of the excess charges!
Even that system, which I believe Air Canada has started using on its cheaper domestic and trans-border fares, is not foolproof. It is easy for customer to think at time of booking I won't need this or that, or to lie hoping they won't be caught out. They then get stung later at check in.
 
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