A hefty fee for luggage

Q&A

June 22, 2008|By Los Angeles Times

I recently traveled between Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C., on Delta with a single piece of luggage. At curbside check-in in Charlotte, the check-in guy barked, "You have to remove 8 pounds from this bag right now or go inside and pay $50." Because of a bad back, I said I would pay the $50 rather than hassle with the bag. In flight, I discovered I had been charged $80. I was outraged and want my money back. How can this type of thing be avoided?

Either by packing lighter or getting the price of fuel under control.

But it's easier for travelers to remove a couple of pairs of shoes than tackle the tangled economic situation of the increasingly troubled airline industry.

It's understandable to feel cheated, but getting your money back will be a Sisyphean task.

The curbside agent may have misstated the amount, but fees are clearly posted on the airline's Web site.

"In this era of $130 per-barrel fuel, I can assure you that we are diligent in collecting every fee as it's applied," Anthony Black, senior manager of media relations for Delta, said in an e-mail.

"Because of the rising cost of fuel, we have made some changes to some fees and services. We encourage customers to visit delta.com for the latest information."

Overweight fees are among a host of charges designed to stem carriers' financial bleeding.

Fliers have slowly grown accustomed to the elimination of in-flight meals. Now they're finding out that extra poundage, which airlines often turned a blind eye to, will cost a pretty penny.

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