Sunday, October 18, 2009

What fun would flying be without last minute baggage glitches?

I was attempting to check in online for my flight. Previously, one could not check in for international flights online, but now things have improved. Or have they?

The seat selection was fine, but then I got to the part about checked baggage, where there were warnings of extra fees for not checking in online, excess baggage and the part about one 50 pound bag per person internationally. Also a note saying that excess baggage needed to be registered with NWA via phone prior to travel. This information was all available only after starting the check-in process, which is 24 hours prior to the flight.

Funny, my reservation said two 50 pound bags were allowed.

So I called Northwest. The agent (Asian woman, I'd guess) was very nice but said the baggage was only one bag; my reservation was wrong.

Secondly, I asked about the bicycle, which I'd called NWA about the week prior. I'd been told it was fine to just show up at the airport and the fees were $150-175 for the bicycle. The woman on the phone said she would check if I needed to have the bike noted prior to travel. When she returned to the line, she reported that the fee was actually $300 and that they'd changed in July. Northwest decided to double the fees.

My flight was $645 one way with all taxes, etc. So the baggage was half that? Insane.

I guess that is where the airlines are making their money these days, on random fees.

Once you get to the airport with too much luggage or the wrong size or wrong type, you are pretty much at their mercy. Do you toss that $1000 bicycle, or do you pay the $300? Fees for phone reservations, fees for check-in, fees for food. Shit, we should all be losing weight if we flew enough, right?

Well, the lady on the phone was very kind and appalled at the fees, which seem rather exorbitant, considering skis, golf clubs and other various sporting items still incur no excess baggage fees. She noted on my reservation the discrepancy in what I was told the week prior (those were the old charges) and apologised, saying that she hoped the check-in agent would be able to help me, as they were the ones who collect the fees.

I guess I am the point of what can I do? I have paid out about $2,000 in stupid fees in the last month. Ranging from locksmiths, to buyers concessions, to bike fees, to ?? At least I have a real job starting on Tuesday. And it's in a country where I can expand my mind with German practice.

This is why I choose to move overseas. I like to travel too much. It's bordering on addiction. However, I do not like to fly anymore. I never know what will go wrong next. What item have I packed that's deemed dangerous, excessive? Perhaps those sunglasses? The shoes? They have metal? Ok. Forget my craziness.

I have to finish my second beer so I can pass out and fall asleep.


Kathleen said...

Hope your flight is restful and Germany is all you hope it will be!
My heart is with you, mom

Josh said...

2 beers! You are a cheap date! JK. I am sure your experiences in Germany will be worth the trouble. Hope the rest of the travel goes well.

DAJ said...

I think travel days are right up there with major surgery as far as fun goes! I see now that your flight left 3 minutes early - so far so good as long as you are on it. Probably a nice feeling to have a one-way ticket:)
love, auntie dj