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Airline. Checked Baggage Ethical Dilemma

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Airline. Checked Baggage Ethical Dilemma

Old 11-19-15, 05:04 AM
  #1  
sprocketss
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Airline. Checked Baggage Ethical Dilemma

Never mind, I deleted previous post, who would have known. After digging through Delta's oversized baggage fees it will be cheaper to declare the bike

Oversized Baggage Fees (one-way)

The following charges apply if your checked bag exceeds our size limitations. Specific exceptions may apply to certain specialty items.
United States

Geographic Region

Fees (Each Way)

Travel within/between United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

200 USD/CAD* for bags measuring 63–80 inches (161-203 cm) in combined length, width, and height.

Bags larger than 80 inches (203 cm) are not allowed.

Last edited by sprocketss; 11-19-15 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 11-19-15, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
After digging through Delta's oversized baggage fees it will be cheaper to declare the bike
Right. In many cases these days a bicycle (which will always be oversized unless it is a folding bicycle of some sort), will cost more if you let it go as oversized rather than a bicycle.

In the old days, some people would advise telling the check-in person that you've got a box full of art or something, and if the check-in person believed you, it might be less expensive. Those days are gone.

If you want a chance of saving a bit of money ...

-- choose your airline well. Airlines charge different rates for oversized and bicycles. A few airlines still allow bicycles to travel for free or for a relatively low price.
-- choose your airports well ... some airports, like Heathrow, seem to charge a bit extra.

-- arrive at the airport early. Try to be the first person in line, before the rush starts and while the check-in people are still fresh.
-- be as kind and friendly and pleasant as possible.

The check-in person does have a little bit of power and may or may not use it. It is never consistent, never guaranteed. But we have had occasions where we've arrived early and we've been friendly, nice, helpful, etc., and the check-in person has reduced the fee or given us some advice that has saved us some money.
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Old 11-19-15, 06:48 AM
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The advantage of good quality folding bicycles is the ability to fit them in a normal sized suitcase for check-in at the airport.
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Old 11-19-15, 07:01 AM
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Last time I flew, I got my boarding pass *and* luggage tag from a terminal. No bike charge, no oversize charge... Will be on the return leg later this week. Will update if retroactive charge.
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Old 11-19-15, 08:37 AM
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Many years ago I did curbside check-in. Since I was flying at a popular time I was hoping the worker would be so rushed that he would neglect to ask me what was in the box. Sure enough, he didn't. I went up the escalator to security with a big grin on my face thinking I had gotten over. Until...At the time, the luggage screening area at the particular airport was right next to the door where I entered the terminal. Since the box wouldn't fit through the scanner, they had to open it. While it was open, the guy who checked me in noticed the bike inside. Probably fearing for his job, he called an airline representative. Just after I cleared security I heard my name over the PA system. I was being asked to report to the gate. When I got there, a woman was waiting to take my credit card for the bike fee. She gave me some grief, but I let her know that the guy who checked me in never asked me what was in the box.
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Old 11-19-15, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Last time I flew, I got my boarding pass *and* luggage tag from a terminal. No bike charge, no oversize charge... Will be on the return leg later this week. Will update if retroactive charge.
For "terminal", do you mean from a self-service kiosk or from a curbside check-in where one normally tips someone?

I doubt you'll incur a retroactive charge for your completed outbound flight. It looks like was an oversight the first time and you simply got away with it. If the airline's policies are clear, they will charge you the portion for your inbound flight back home. But you could get lucky again!
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Old 11-19-15, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
For "terminal", do you mean from a self-service kiosk
Yep.
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Old 11-19-15, 04:19 PM
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Make sure to print the bike policy. Flying out of TLV, I chose KLM for their bike policy but luggage was handled by a Delta agent who was unaware of KLM's policy.
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Old 11-19-15, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
Make sure to print the bike policy. Flying out of TLV, I chose KLM for their bike policy but luggage was handled by a Delta agent who was unaware of KLM's policy.
You've got to watch any code sharing situations. Often in small print somewhere they'll say that if an airline they code share with has a different baggage policy either their baggage policy or the other baggage policy will apply. They'll usually indicate which, although some will kind of wash their hands of it and say something like, "Other fees may apply".
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Old 11-19-15, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You've got to watch any code sharing situations. Often in small print somewhere they'll say that if an airline they code share with has a different baggage policy either their baggage policy or the other baggage policy will apply. They'll usually indicate which, although some will kind of wash their hands of it and say something like, "Other fees may apply".
I have experienced this, not with a bike, but regular luggage, on the second leg of trip with a different airline.
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Old 11-20-15, 10:46 AM
  #11  
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I am not sure what the ethical dilemma is. If you are asked what is in a box and if it is cheaper to say sports equipment than it is to say a bike, say sports equipment. Delta fees are high enough that they won't be losing any money regardless of what you tell them. I just wish that in my small community we had more choices of airlines, we only have a couple of high fee airlines so it costs me a fortune to go anywhere.
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Old 11-20-15, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You've got to watch any code sharing situations. Often in small print somewhere they'll say that if an airline they code share with has a different baggage policy either their baggage policy or the other baggage policy will apply. They'll usually indicate which, although some will kind of wash their hands of it and say something like, "Other fees may apply".
IATA's Resolution 302 indicates that charges apply for the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) of your journey. Say you're traveling from Auckland to Los Angeles via Sydney. Your first leg from Auckland to Sydney is with Air New Zealand. In Sydney, you make a transfer with Virgin Australia which will take you to Los Angeles. According to IATA's latest regulations, Air New Zealand should not apply their own baggages fees, but instead they need to apply the fees that Virgin Australia publishes since that airline will be the MSC of your journey.

The problem is that not all desk agents know this. Quite often you may need to call a supervisor who's more familiar with these code share regulations. As indicated above, it's good to have these things printed out so you can hopefully win the battle.
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Old 11-20-15, 02:03 PM
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Horizon charged for My Bike to get to Seattle, SAS from SeaTac to AMS via CPH would not, If
I had not needed the connecting Flight from EUG.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-20-15 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 11-20-15, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I am not sure what the ethical dilemma is. If you are asked what is in a box and if it is cheaper to say sports equipment than it is to say a bike, say sports equipment. Delta fees are high enough that they won't be losing any money regardless of what you tell them. I just wish that in my small community we had more choices of airlines, we only have a couple of high fee airlines so it costs me a fortune to go anywhere.
That is precisely the ethical dilemma, I always try to be honest in my dealings and I always aspire to treat others as I would hope they would treat me, I do feel the Airlines are taking advantage of the present situation though, through control of seat inventory to many destinations. Good for them on one level, as Airlines are finally in the black. But greed, as always, seems to take over, taking advantage of the present good fortune of low fuel prices and consolidating of the airline industry. However, on balance, while I'm not happy to be paying $150 for one checked piece of baggage each way, I did get a great deal on the flight itself.
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Old 11-20-15, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
That is precisely the ethical dilemma, I always try to be honest in my dealings and I always aspire to treat others as I would hope they would treat me, I do feel the Airlines are taking advantage of the present situation though, through control of seat inventory to many destinations. Good for them on one level, as Airlines are finally in the black. But greed, as always, seems to take over, taking advantage of the present good fortune of low fuel prices and consolidating of the airline industry. However, on balance, while I'm not happy to be paying $150 for one checked piece of baggage each way, I did get a great deal on the flight itself.
Are there any airlines currently where saying you have a bicycle will cost you more than saying it's something else?

It wasn't too long ago that there used to be an issue with folding bikes or other bikes that were made to fit into a non-oversize case. If they had a bicycle rule on their baggage policy, they might enforce it even if the bike was not oversize. I feel like, at least in the U.S., most airlines have amended their policies such that if it fits in a non-oversize case, it gets treated like standard luggage, no matter what's in it.

But I have never been aware of a policy in which oversize luggage costs more because it's a bicycle. Not to say it's never been the case. I have never flown with a full-sized bike. Flying with my folding bike, the airline has always treated it as a standard, checked bag.
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Old 11-20-15, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
IATA's Resolution 302 indicates that charges apply for the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) of your journey. Say you're traveling from Auckland to Los Angeles via Sydney. Your first leg from Auckland to Sydney is with Air New Zealand. In Sydney, you make a transfer with Virgin Australia which will take you to Los Angeles. According to IATA's latest regulations, Air New Zealand should not apply their own baggages fees, but instead they need to apply the fees that Virgin Australia publishes since that airline will be the MSC of your journey.

The problem is that not all desk agents know this. Quite often you may need to call a supervisor who's more familiar with these code share regulations. As indicated above, it's good to have these things printed out so you can hopefully win the battle.
I read the following here: MSC IATA resolution 302 effect on QF - FlyerTalk Forums

U.S. Exception (US DOT Order 2009-9-20 <05Oct09>)(a) For passengers whose ultimate ticketed origin or destination is a U.S. point, the baggage provisions selected at the beginning of the itinerary shall apply throughout the itinerary, regardless of stopovers, and
(b) in the case of code-share flights that include a point in the United States, the Most Significant Carrier (MSC) shall be the Marketing Carrier.


So it sounds like if your trip begins or ends in the US, you are subject to the rules of the carrier for the 1st flight. This was true for me last year, however it turned out that my 1st carrier had the same baggage rules as my Most Significant Carrier.

BTW, I learned years ago (in 2000) that if your luggage is lost, you are subject to the compensation rules of the airline which was supposed to have delivered your luggage, regardless of which airline was responsible for losing your luggage. I don't know if this rule is still the case, however. I was told it was based on an agreement between carriers. In my case, both carriers agreed that was the rule, and the airline which compensated me was NOT the airline which sent my luggage to the wrong continent.
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Old 11-20-15, 04:37 PM
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I had a good experience with airline travel packing my S&S coupled bike into two regulation sized cartons and checked them as my two free bags flying Southwest. It was only $104 for one-way ticket (including the boxes) -> Washington DC to Milwaukee, WS.

posted earlier in a thread about S&S couplers
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Old 11-20-15, 04:44 PM
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You were Lucky.. Had someone report when they got out here S&S etc. packed it all compliant with the 62" rule ,

but an airline staff person demanded to look inside , and seeing it was a Bike Added the fee anyhow ..

Might have gotten an 'Attaboy' for increasing the revenue of their employer ..
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Old 11-20-15, 05:03 PM
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Flying back from St John's Newfoundland several weeks ago, Air Canada wanted to charge me $50 for my properly packed S&S coupled bike. They asked if it was sports equipment of any sort. Being an honest fellow, of course I acknowledge this. I told them that I was not charged on my flight to Victoria, so what is the difference today? When was this policy change? In the end, because I was not charged for sports equipment on the way out, they waived it for the return flight. Policy had not been recently changed either. It simply wasn't applied for the original flight. The airlines have us by the tail end. It is now my belief that the fees charged are part of an insurance premium levied to cover their sometime irresponsible actions such as loss, breakage, etc. Also, sports equipment is only guaranteed to $3,000. Uncomforting, when the replacement cost of my bike is much closer to $7,000. If you don't identify that it's sports equipment, and something happens to it, they are only liable to $500. That might cover the cost of one wheel!
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Old 11-20-15, 06:47 PM
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I've never been charged for my bike on EVA or Thai Airways .
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Old 11-20-15, 06:52 PM
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Have a read over this link ... it explains a lot ...

Airline Baggage Regulations For Bicycles


Now note that airlines change their policies frequently, so it is a very good idea to check the airline in question before you book just in case that link is not up to date. It is also a good idea to check the airline in question a few days before you fly to see if they've made any last-minute changes.
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Old 11-20-15, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
I've never been charged for my bike on EVA or Thai Airways .
As seen in the link I just posted, EVA and Thai Airways do not charge for bicycles. There are several other airlines that don't charge either.
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Old 11-20-15, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
You were Lucky.. Had someone report when they got out here S&S etc. packed it all compliant with the 62" rule ,

but an airline staff person demanded to look inside , and seeing it was a Bike Added the fee anyhow ..

Might have gotten an 'Attaboy' for increasing the revenue of their employer ..
At check-in I told them bicycle parts & camping equipment. The TSA people did also rummage through it and left notes stating that they did. No other issues came up.
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Old 11-20-15, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by LuckySailor View Post
... so what is the difference today? When was this policy change? ...
A few times I have bought a ticket and then the fees were raised after I bought that ticket. But, the fee amounts that I was actually charged were grandfathered to when I bought the ticket. After you buy the ticket, they can't suddenly after the fact tack on more fees.

They can change their menu because they did not provide that when you bought the ticket, but they don't have much of one anymore.

I love those little bottles of wine on Iberia, ... ...

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Old 11-20-15, 07:20 PM
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I typically fly Southwest and my S&S Waterford in it's 62" case goes as a regular checked bag for free.
Their rules state that there is only a fee if it exceeds the 62" or 50 lb limit.
I stuff it with tools and cloths and get it to about 48 lbs just to be on the safe side.


Sports Equipment - Baggage Allowance
Any of the items listed below may be checked in substitution of one piece of the free Checked Baggage allowance for each Passenger at no charge on a one-item-for-one-bag basis. If the item of sporting equipment exceeds 50 pounds in weight or 62 inches in size (outside length plus height plus width), excess weight and size charges may apply.


  • Bicycles (defined as nonmotorized and having a single seat), including Bike Friday and Co-Pilot, properly packed in a hard-sided bicycle box that fall within the dimensions and weight limits established for normal Checked Baggage, (i.e., 62 inches or less in overall dimensions and less than 50 pounds in weight). Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other Baggage. Bicycles packaged in cardboard or soft-sided cases will be transported as subject to limited release.

    Note: See below for information regarding bicycles that exceed our checked baggage size limits. Additional charges may apply.
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