After John Nealon’s bags go missing, his airline sends him shopping. Why won’t it cover the bill? “Alitalia promised to cover my lost luggage, but the check never arrived”
Both of Carlos DeLeon’s bags are broken, but Heys won’t fix them even though they’re under warranty. Why not? “Two broken Heys bags, one broken promise”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more frivolous travel topic than wrinkles. But I’m willing to bet that the longer you spend on the road, the less you’re laughing. “How to win the war on wrinkled clothes”
It’s one thing to preach about the virtues of traveling light. It’s quite another to practice them. “How to travel light — really light”
The Irish discount carrier Ryanair has a well-earned reputation for unapologetically burying its customers in fees, including charges for carrying their bags on board. It isn’t as well-known for its unfailingly polite defenses of its indefensible policies and their uneven implementation.
Yomna Nasr’s story probably won’t change your opinion of Ryanair. But after reading it, you may grudgingly give it points for its clever non-apologies.
“Ryanair orders passenger with bag question to “shut up” — does she deserve a refund?”
It’s not your imagination. Congress seems to be paying closer attention to travelers’ welfare.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the International Travelers Bill of Rights, proposed bipartisan legislation that would require online travel agencies to disclose information about the potential health and safety risks of overseas vacation destinations marketed on their sites. A week earlier, I covered the aggressive new tarmac-delay laws included in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.
“Do travelers need new federal protections?”
He had to buy new clothes, for which the airline promised to reimburse him, but when the time came for it to refund his purchases, US Airways balked. Henderson paid $2,500 for new gear, but the airline only covered $800.
When something goes wrong on a trip, you don’t always get the compensation you deserve — you get what you negotiate. Alright, maybe that’s not an original line, but it is an appropriate way to introduce Barbara Leon’s case.
Did American Airlines offer her the appropriate compensation for failing to deliver her bag to Greensboro, NC, on time? Or should it have refunded the baggage fee, as she requested?
These are interesting questions, because there are no real industry standards for on-time luggage delivery, in an age where bags generally don’t fly free. On one extreme, you have Alaska Airlines, which offers either $20 off a future flight or 2,000 miles if your bag is more than 20 minutes late — and on the other hand, you have legacy carriers who often give you nothing.
Leon flew from Miami to Greensboro with her son and his wife and three children in December. She checked two bags curbside, one of which was overweight. Leon paid $25 for the first bag and $85 for the second bag.
It’s been more than two years since most major airlines “unbundled” their fares and began charging passengers for the first checked bag. And although air travelers are now paying more for their luggage than ever — $2.7 billion last year, compared with just $1.1 billion in 2008 — they are deeply unhappy about it, according to a new poll.
A survey of more than 1,000 travelers by the Consumer Travel Alliance suggests air travelers are more upset about the checked luggage charges than any other airline fee. Asked what they missed the most about air travel, 56 percent said it was the ability to check their first bag without paying extra. Roughly 20 percent said they missed meals, and slightly fewer — 19 percent — missed the ability to make a confirmed seat reservation. About five percent of respondents missed the free pillows and blankets.
“It’s almost impossible for the casual traveler to go without luggage, or even the road warriors who have to stay over several nights,” says Robin Edelston, a frequent traveler from Cos Cob, Conn. “And charging for checked luggage encourages people to cram stuff into the overhead bins when the airlines should be encouraging people to stow it in cargo.”
“Passengers say they miss luggage-inclusive fares the most”
Thought those reservation change fees I showed you yesterday were shocking? Then check this out.
Here’s what airlines have charged us in baggage fees during the last 20 years. Notice any trends?
From 2007 to 2009, the number jumped from $464 million to an astounding $2.7 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. If the first-quarter number holds for the rest of the year — and that’s a big “if” considering that it continues to go up — then the airline industry will collect more than $3 billion in baggage fees for 2010.
Let’s look at some of the biggest beneficiaries.
“Airlines on track to collect more than $3 billion for checked luggage this year”