Are Air Berlin’s luggage scales a “scam”?

Luggage fees are a quick and relatively easy way for an airline to make money, but the European discount airlines have turned it into an artform.

If your carry-on tips the scale a few grams over the limit, the price of your air transportation can routinely double, thanks to their punitive and arbitrary baggage surcharges.

Nicholas Dominick recently found himself on the wrong side of that scheme when he flew from Venice to Münster, Germany, via Berlin on Air Berlin. Knowing the airline’s strict luggage policies, he’d weighed his luggage and it added up to a total of 40 kilos.
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Airline declines credit card, then hires collection agency to extract $510 “cancellation” fee

Kalevi Ruuska contacted me with an urgent problem recently. One of his friends was being asked to pay an odd cancellation fee by Air Berlin, and would not take “no” for an answer. The airline had hired a collection agency to pursue its claim.

His story underscores a fact few of us here in the United States seem to understand: No matter how bad airline fees are here, they’re worse in Europe.

It also suggests that when it comes to surcharges and ancillary fees, there’s a lot of room for growth. I almost hesitate to write about this case, because it might give some of the more fee-happy airlines here in the States ideas for making more money.
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