At first glance it looked like adding an extra bag would cost just $9. For one traveler this was an expensive lesson in reading the fine print.
Question: I purchased a ticket on Expedia for my wife to fly from Shanghai to Taipei. I used Expedia because they made clear that the first checked bag would be “free” and then the second one would be $9. This was acceptable to us.
However, once my wife arrived in Shanghai she was informed that the fee was $9 per kilogram, not $9 per bag. My wife had to pay an exorbitant amount for that flight in order to bring her bags. This was false advertising by Expedia. I wouldn’t have bought this ticket on Expedia if I had known the actual cost of the baggage.
Can you help me get our money back? I would also like Expedia to pay to have my wife’s bags shipped back to Shanghai because that would be cheaper. Can you help me? — David Wachter, Linden Hill, N.Y.
Answer: In the U.S., when airlines charge a fee for luggage, it’s typically per bag. So I can understand what a shock it must have been when your wife discovered that what she thought was a fee per bag turned out to be a fee per kilogram, and a $9 additional charge turned into almost $200 in extra fees. Especially given that this was a short intra-Asia flight between Shanghai and Taipei. In fact, to avoid those fees on her return, you told us she intended to give away some of her clothing and then ship the remainder back.
This is yet another lesson in how important it is to read the fine print carefully when booking online. The link you shared with us does say that Expedia was providing estimated baggage fees. A poor estimate as it turned out, but there was also an advisory to check the airline for exact fees along with the link that took you to a page on China Eastern’s website that showed the actual fees.
While that’s not really “false advertising,” you thought that Expedia should accept some responsibility. After discussions with our advocates you reached out to the company, and with a bit of arm-twisting from you, it did.
We’re pleased to hear that Expedia offered you a $400 voucher and that you’re happy with that resolution.