Thai Airways' Excess Baggage Charge
14 replies to this topic
Posted 2009-11-27 12:57:05
TIME: By REED TUCKER – Wed Nov 25, 9:25 am ET
We all know that flying with bags these days can cost you extra, but who knew how expensive it could get? One unlucky traveler got hit with an excess-baggage charge so outrageous, he may as well have bought his luggage its own seats on the flight.
Offending Party: Thai Airways
What's at Stake: Hold onto your wallets, people: an overweight-bag charge of $2,200!
The Complaint: Bob Wolfe and his wife were flying from Bangkok' s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Panama. At the counter, Wolfe was told that his four bags were each about 2 kg or 3 kg over the 32 kg limit, and that he'd have to pay a penalty. (See 50 essential travel tips.)
Wolfe was sent to a Thai Airways office where he says a number of employees discussed how much he should be charged for the bags. They argued with each other. They made phone calls. They looked generally confused, he says. More than an hour later, a verdict was rendered: Wolfe owed 66,000 Thai baht, or approximately $2,200.
Anxious to catch his plane , Wolfe reluctantly coughed up the penalty, vowing to take up the case when he returned home. After exchanging numerous letters and e-mails with representatives of the airline, Wolfe is still unsure why he was charged so much, or how the confused employees arrived at the 66,000 baht figure. He says he has tried in vain to get an explanation or a partial refund on the bag charge. (Read "Sky-High Fees for Overweight Bags.")
The Outcome: Just for fun, the Avenger looked up where a person could fly for $2,200 from his home base inNew York City - with or without bags. Hey, look! Auckland, New Zealand! Jakarta, Indonesia! Beijing, China - twice!
The Avenger contacted Thai Airways, and a rep provided the same letter that had been sent to Wolfe. It read, in part, "Any bag or piece which exceeds 32 kilos shall be charged at three times the applicable excess-baggage" charge of 5,500 baht. Huh?
There was no explanation of why Wolfe's bags were charged "three times" the regular excess-baggage penalty. Were they three times as heavy? Three times as ugly?
After a few weeks, the airline finally provided its overweight-baggage policy in writing. The explanation was that Wolfe was charged three times the normal fee because his bags were overweight and oversize. The policy, while confusingly written, seems to say that bags over 32 kg with total dimensions of more than 80 in. would get socked with a triple penalty.
Fine, except that Wolfe insists no Thai Airways employee ever measured his bags. So the Avenger had Wolfe do it, then sent photographs to the airline of the bags next to a tape measure. The first two bags each totaled 60 in., while the second two totaled 67 in. each. All four were under the 80-in. limit, and should therefore have not been charged the triple penalty.
The Avenger first contacted Thai Airways in August. It's now November, and the airline is still asking for more time to sort this out. Meanwhile, Wolfe remains confused as to exactly what he should have been charged.
If there's a lesson here, it's this: If an airline is going to hit you with an overweight-bag fee, ask to see its policy in writing and make sure airline representatives measure and weigh your bags in front of you. Oh, and if you're traveling to Thailand, pack light.
Posted 2009-11-27 13:51:36
i do not wish to side with any airline....
but while traveling internationally, it was a common sight to see oversized bags and presumably over weighted as well.... several such bags from some family members traveling together--particularly around southeast asia regions....
i brought over a heavy ancient teak bed from bkk to sfo with proper documentation and all.... and i was also charged some 2k usd as excess baggage by cathay but then i was trabeling on its premium class which i was led to believe made some difference....
and a few years thereafter, i also brought back to thailand for my seriously ailing sister, a genuine leather reclining lazy boy chair which also weighted a ton, it seemed.... and the excess baggage charge was about 850 usd....
most travelers would be advised by airline personnel to take out the non essential items and mailed them--right from the suvana airport....
yes, last year, my own son coming to visit on his honeymoon trip.... money was not a problem, he said....
but when he was hit with 15,500 usd for his new family's excess baggage charge.... he did what he was told by the very nice counter ladies....
yes, i also helped them completely repacked to comply.... right around the suvana checkin counter.... LOL
several paper card boxes were purchased from the thai post office on the premise.... and if we look carefully we'll find it at the very corner to the right hand side, as we enter the terminal.... LOL
all the while his lovely bride was protesting behemently.... and sea-mailed the rest of his very precious belongings and gifts to his lovely home in vegas.... LOL
in reference to bob wolfe and his wife.... who preferred to pay the excess baggage rather than to repack must have their own very good reasons.... and i surely would not question whatever their personal preferences at the time.... but nevertheless it was a very sad episode.... and thai airway should have handled the situation much more amicably.... CHARGING IS ONE THING--MAKING CUSTOMER HAPPY IS ANOTHER THING....
on numerous overseas trips, my luggage was also overweighted by a few kilo.... with gifts and such.... i also tried to be very polite acknowledging my oversight.... and just explained that there are several family members children who are waiting at the destination airport for those little gifts from london.... AND ISN'T THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN DO TO HLEP ME OUT.... smile.... smile and keep on smiling.... most often, they were very gracious.... but only on two or three occasion that they insisted that i paid the excess....
just to be honest, there were three or four occasions too that i was screaming at those nice ladies.... shame on me.... those were the occasions that i was absolutely sure beyond any reasonable doubt that their own policy and procedure were not followed ....
but at the end, i always turned around and apologized sincerely.... before parting.... it has been several years since and i did realize that those were not becoming behaviors at all for me to display....
Edited by nakachalet, 2009-11-27 14:01:26.
Posted 2009-11-27 17:12:21
There is an easy and cheap way to send excess baggage, but it needs some planning and preparation:
About a week before departure contact a local freight forwarding agent and have them book the excess baggage (separately packed!) as 'freight accompanying passenger' on the same flight as the passenger is booked.
Even with the handling fees by the agent you will safe a lot of money!
The only downside is that you won't get the goods on the spot when you arrive at the destination, it may take a day or so.
Costs: about 10-20% of what it would cost if sent as excess baggage.
Posted 2009-11-27 20:08:10
From Thai Airways website: http://www.thaiairwa...ou-fly-faqs.htm
I don't know which class Mr and Mrs Wolfe were flying (the article in the OP doesn't specify it), but one explanation could be that the calculation by Thai Airways was -mistakenly or not- based on the 23kg limit for Economy class, which leads to ~50kg of excess luggage and 2000 USD at a rate of 40USD/kg..
Posted 2009-11-29 02:35:35
A couple of years ago, my wife came back to UK from Thailand on Thai Airways.
One of her two bags weighed 72 KGs and she did not pay a penny extra excess baggage.
Posted 2009-11-29 22:10:45
I firmly believe that luggage and passenger should be weighed and measured together, so the less lard around the arse the more baggage allowance you can have.
<deleted> shouldn't the fat bastards carrying 100 kgs in excess blubber be charged considerably more than me at 75 kgs? And <deleted> should I have to sit next to overflowing wads of ghastly fat, encroaching on MY PERSONAL SPACE, and moaning every time they have to move because I need the toilet?
All the lard <deleted> out there should either stay at home or have themselves shipped out in a container by sea.
Posted 2009-11-30 00:51:50
You weren't on this flight, were you?
If there was ever a justification for an overweight passenger surcharge, this is definitely it.
Posted 2009-11-30 10:35:39
My wife weighs about 40 k. You mean she can take about 55 kg luggage?
Posted 2009-11-30 19:16:52
Yes, that sounds very reasonable to me. That could put a nice round figure on the combined passenger/luggage allowance, say 100 kgs.
So she would get 60 kgs luggage allowance and I would get just 25 kgs. I think that is a very good solution.
Posted 2009-11-30 19:37:36
No, but if I was put next to that mega-lardarse I would have complained.
And catch all those comments about obesity being a disease, a glandular problem. Absolute twaddle. There is a simply equation;
"calories in" minus "calories out" = weight gain or loss.
ALL the fatties I have ever met do not exercise and do eat several times the volume that I consume. Sure, I could easily eat the same amount, but then I would look like them too. I have to deliberately resist the eating urge and often, if eating out, leave at least 50% of the food on the plate. It is not easy, but, for me, it is a case of forgoing the short term pleasure of stuffing myself full because I prefer to feel healthy the other 95% of the day, instead of energy less and collapsing in the sofa to allow the body to digest the calories and lay down another layer of lard.
Posted 2009-12-01 08:15:37
whom are you trying to BS?
Posted 2009-12-01 12:53:15
The airlines all have those devices that allow a person to place a bag in it to see if it fits the correct dimensions for hand carried items. I personally have never seen anyone use these but maybe they should also have a size testing device for passengers? If they cannot fit into this test seat then they pay for two seats.
All the airlines are worried about weight and fuel costs. If they get so hyper about a few kilos on a bag then they should do the same for passengers.
Posted 2009-12-01 18:23:11
whom are you trying to BS?
That's no BS.. that's her 2 younger sisters
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