When a good customer meets a not-so-good airline

Ruth Morrison’s carry-on luggage vanished on her recent flight from Portland to Quito, Ecuador — in part because she was trying to be a good traveler, and in part because her airline doesn’t know how to be a good company.
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Should I have been charged extra for my checked luggage?

Question: I traveled to Europe on a codeshare flight between Delta Air Lines and KLM. Before I left the United States, I carefully checked the size and weight restrictions for my two bags on both the Delta and KLM websites, because I’m an artist and I needed to take rolls of paper with me. I made sure my bags complied.

The trip from Portland, Ore., to Copenhagen, Denmark went off without a hitch; I paid $50 to check a second bag. However, on the flight from Toulouse, France, to Portland, Ore., I had to pay 200 Euros for the second bag. When the gate agent saw my second bag, she declared it “too long,” she never measured it. Although the flight was on KLM, the airport staff worked for Air France. There was no KLM or Delta presence that I could find in that airport.
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What the #$&! is going on with airline baggage fees?

Check this out: The latest luggage fee numbers, as reported by the federal government, show that the major airlines are collecting less for our checked suitcases. They haven’t returned to the early 2007 levels, which were still pretty reasonable, but well off the highs reached in the second and third quarter of 2010.

What’s going on?
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5 outrageous luggage fee myths the airlines want you to believe

luggageHas the airline industry won the luggage fee war?

Consider the following facts:

• Airlines earned $566 million from checked baggage fees in the first quarter, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That’s more than four times as much as it collected for the same period a year before.

• Air carriers have publicly declared that passengers accept the fees. Only a few brave travel pundits are challenging those claims, but it appears no one is listening to them.

• Far from backing down, airlines are now raising the baggage fees. The latest is American Airlines, which famously introduced the idea of a $15 fee for the first checked bag. Uh, make that $20.
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7 ways to avoid checked baggage fees

luggageLike just about every other airline passenger this summer, Elizabeth Rodgers wants to avoid any unnecessary fees. So on a recent flight from Los Angeles to Boise, Idaho, she tried to carry all of her luggage on the plane.

She didn’t get far.
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