Originally Posted by spinnaker
AND the day you purchase your ticket.
I do not doubt the people that say they have had problems with being charged more than expected due to a changed policy. But this is more likely due to a gate agent that does not know what they are doing.
I find it hard to believe that an airline would not honor the policy as it was on the day of your ticket purchase. And if they did not, I doubt it would hold up in court, if you wanted to push it that far.
Your contract is with the airline the date you bought the ticket. Not on the day that you fly. After all they could do anything with this idea that a policy can change at any time. Buy a $300 ticket a few months out and then the day before your flight, they start charging $100 for a carry on and $200 for a checked bag. Suddenly your ticket doubles in price.
Well ... believe it. And that's exactly what has happened. People have purchased their tickets in advance, and at some point between then and the flight all sorts of things have changed including ...
1) charging for bicycles where they didn't charge before
2) raising the rates for bicycles
3) limiting carry-on
4) not guaranteeing that they will take bicycles at all
5) reducing the allowable size and weight of checked baggage
I've encountered all of the above, although fortunately I did check just prior to most of the flights where I've encountered those occurrances and was prepared. But I've watched the people in the airports who were not prepared.
In 2007, Heathrow suddenly put a restriction on carry-on baggage on all flights flying out of Heathrow. Only one small piece of carry-on luggage was allowed. I had checked both my airline and the airports and was prepared for that restriction when I flew to Europe. But I watched several weeping women tossing stuff as they frantically tried to get their carry-on amounts down to the limit.
In 2009 when I flew over here to Australia, I watched a family debating what on earth to do with all their stuff because the size and weight limits had changed and they were well over the limit. I think in the end they paid the oversized baggage fee.
When the airlines started charging for bicycles, Rowan and I were caught by that one, and we discovered that if you argue with the person behind the counter, that person will call the on-duty manager over who will inform you that if you keep arguing, you will be charged the maximum they can possibly charge for a piece of luggage. Your choice ... pay the fee, or pay about 3 times the fee. Showing them the so-called "contract" at the time of purchase meant nothing.
So you can try to convince the airline to honour the policy as it was on the day of your ticket purchase, but brace yourself for the people you're dealing with to enforce the current policy. After all, if the new
policy is that a person can only bring one carry-on bag, for example, even if your e-ticket says that you are allowed two, you won't be allowed to bring two on the airplane.
I'd have to dig out my flight information for my most recent flight, but I suspect that there is a teensy tiny note somewhere on the paperwork that says something like, "Terms and conditions may change at the discretion of airline".
I just checked and both Air Canada and Qantas, include baggage information but refer people back to their website for any baggage details which may have changed. Both also require
a person to print and carry the e-ticket which contains the baggage info.