Weighing carry-on baggage at CDG

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Old Oct 25, 15, 6:55 am
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Ahhh another "I open my account on FT and make my 1st post to start a rant against an airline"
Sorry, but I have no sympathy for your story and accusations which contains so many unbelievable points from racism (of course ) to theft of your belongings put in a trash can (I admit I got lost at a point in this crazy lengthy fiction story). Racism and discrimination are so easy excuses and this is even more ridiculous knowing that many employees at CDG at security check points are from non-France origin (many Africans and North Africans).
You may not like the rules AF has for bags and carry-ons (but they are roughly similar as other airlines) or may dislike they actually try to enforce those rules (and that's what we are talking about in this thread), but you tried to play with the known rules and you failed (sorry, but you will have troubles to attract sympathy here having a 20kg carry-on with you as this is a weight normally seen for a checked bag). So next time, make you homework packing accordingly and stop to blame the others for the consequences of your own behavior.
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Old Oct 25, 15, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
Ahhh another "I open my account on FT and make my 1st post to start a rant against an airline"
Sorry, but I have no sympathy for your story and accusations which contains so many unbelievable points from racism (of course ) to theft of your belongings put in a trash can (I admit I got lost at a point in this crazy lengthy fiction story). Racism and discrimination are so easy excuses and this is even more ridiculous knowing that many employees at CDG at security check points are from non-France origin (many Africans and North Africans).
You may not like the rules AF has for bags and carry-ons (but they are roughly similar as other airlines) or may dislike they actually try to enforce those rules (and that's what we are talking about in this thread), but you tried to play with the known rules and you failed (sorry, but you will have troubles to attract sympathy here having a 20kg carry-on with you as this is a weight normally seen for a checked bag). So next time, make you homework packing accordingly and stop to blame the others for the consequences of your own behavior.
+1
And what is your video trying to demonstrate?
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Old Oct 25, 15, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by olivedel View Post
+1
And what is your video trying to demonstrate?
You apparently got further through the post than I did. I had had enough after the first few lines!

@Goldorak: +1
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Old Oct 25, 15, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by sirenita214 View Post
I am a very frequent flier of the OneWorld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam airlines and have been to destinations all around the world. I have been on enough flights by now to know how to fly, how to go through check in smoothly, and how to pack without incurring unnecessary stress.
Typical TripAdvisor post. If you are a very frequent flier of the three alliances, and you have been to destinations all around the world, it surprises me that you arrived with so little time to go through passport control and security at a major hub like CDG. You looked for trouble, and you got it.

When you book a flight, airlines are very specific with their requirements. These requirements were communicated to you during the booking process, and via e-mail when you received your ticket. If you decided to go over the limit, then it's your fault. AF can offer you 4,000 miles as an apology, but I don't think they will reimburse anything, especially after the drama you caused.
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Old Oct 26, 15, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by B7e7US View Post
Typical TripAdvisor post. If you are a very frequent flier of the three alliances, and you have been to destinations all around the world, it surprises me that you arrived with so little time to go through passport control and security at a major hub like CDG. You looked for trouble, and you got it.

When you book a flight, airlines are very specific with their requirements. These requirements were communicated to you during the booking process, and via e-mail when you received your ticket. If you decided to go over the limit, then it's your fault. AF can offer you 4,000 miles as an apology, but I don't think they will reimburse anything, especially after the drama you caused.
Not mentionning the fact that no FQTV who knows "how to pack without incurring unnecessary stress" would show up in an airport with a TWENTY kilograms carry-on....
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Old Oct 27, 15, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by Enthilza View Post
Not mentionning the fact that no FQTV who knows "how to pack without incurring unnecessary stress" would show up in an airport with a TWENTY kilograms carry-on....
Poster cannot be seriously considered when apparently willingly showing up at the airport at 15:15 for boarding at 15:30 for a long haul flight, allowing only 15 minutes to go through passport control, security and go to the gate.
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Old Oct 28, 15, 10:38 am
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Guys, quite a harsh reaction on that chap on the Dakar flight, and I am not certain it's all warranted.

There are things which are merely claims, so I dismiss them as much as anyone else. Things stolen? Maybe, maybe not.

But there are things which I believe right away, for having experienced them myself:
  • AF employees on a little power trip and all too happy not to find a pragmatic way to enforce a rule. For instance, it would have been possible to enforce the rule of no hand luggage or more than 12 kg by simply calling the gate and tell them "when passenger XYZ turns up, take his hand luggage and put it in the hold, it's too late for us here at the check-in counter to check it in". I've seen plently of airlines do that. So I agree with those that responded "you have to abide by the rules" - but there is a more customer-friendly way to enforce it and it wouldn't have cost AF anything, not even a non-respect of their own rules
  • The "agent refusing to give his name" is a bit of a cultural thing. In some countries (Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland are some where I know it for a fact) people in "official" and "semi official" roles carry a badge with their name or a number or at least are obliged to give it when asked, so that they can be held personally responsible for what they do and how they enforce the law or certain rules. In France this is different, people believe that wearing a uniform (and be it just that of a private security firm) gives them certain powers and they are not responsible for their acts individually. It's the notion of "the state" or a firm acting on behalf of the state that interacts with the passenger/citizen, and that therefore the individual agent is not to be identified. And AF staff in their uniform act in precisely that way as well, they are not "Monsieur XYZ" and "Madame ABC" but they are "Air France", and take some institution-type authorities from it.
    I've had a situation where I took the name of security agent at CDG from a bagde because I felt that she had transgressed her rules and I wanted to complain. That caused a lot of stir among the security guards and they called the police. Which I gladly accepted, and it turned out that the security agent had done something she was not entitled to.
  • They also tried to pull that "no pictures allowed" on me, I asked them to show me the rule or sign that stipulated that, and they showed me a page from some rulebook - and panicked when I confronted them with the fact that the rule book was for security agents, not passengers. Again, they "threatened" with calling the police but then didn't when I simply said that I'd welcome the idea that they had just try to apply a rule to me which obviously applied to agents rather than passengers.
  • "Poster cannot be seriously considered when apparently willingly showing up at the airport at 15:15 for boarding at 15:30 for a long haul flight, allowing only 15 minutes to go through passport control, security and go to the gate." Are you serious? The flight departed at 16h25. I think arriving more than one hour before departure with a valid boarding pass is more than plenty. I know that some people love going to lounges and doing duty free shopping at the airport before departure. But others consider time at the airport waiting for a plane to be a waste of time. If I had arrived at 15h15 for a 16h25 departure I would have asked myself whether I was going to watch the paint dry on the walls during all that time. Because we all know that boarding times merely mean "boarding will start no earlier than time xxx", but they do not mean "you have to be at the gate and stand in line behind 250 other people otherwise we won't let you on the flight". Surely going through passports and security and taking the train to L all takes time especially when not in the priority lane, but arriving at the airport 70 minutes before departure is absolutely enough. Even check-in only closes at 15h25, so how can someone who enters the security lines - i.e., already one stage further - at 15h15 be considered late?
  • "Not mentionning the fact that no FQTV who knows "how to pack without incurring unnecessary stress" would show up in an airport with a TWENTY kilograms carry-on...." As a matter of fact, many frequent travelers do exactly that. Because they are flying frequently and do not wand to wait at the luggage belt as frequently.

And of course the whole story shows how stupid the setup is to check for weight before entering the security/passport system. This thing could have happened to anyone: arrive at the airport, check in just before check in closes, go to security, be confronted with too heave hand luggage, be asked to go back to check-in, which by then is closed. And then what?

AF wanting to control weight of hand luggage is one thing. But not putting in place a system which allows people to have taken their luggage at the gate is completely stupid.


Originally Posted by airsurfer View Post
I had a similar issue but not at all at CDG, but at CPT for a flight with EK. Sounds weird, but the guy at the check0in counter really weighed the carry-on.
And he told me that putting the carry-on under the seat-in-front-of-you was not allowed which is completely bulls*** and the overhead bins were the only allowed places.
Depends. If you travel in J on Emirates from CPT on the 777s the seats are such that you are not allowed to put hand luggage underneath them. In the P suites and I presume also in Y the situation is different.


Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
I'll admit that I have never really understood the logic of weight limits on carry on bags. ...

and which have hand luggage issues quite regularly since the launch of MiNi fares.
+1. That is the real issue, people with too many pieces of hand luggage.

If AF wanted to do something for its customers, it should make sure that passengers sitting towards the back don't just dump their hand luggage in the front. Passengers sitting in front then have to find place for their stuff further in the back, which is a pain when trying to retrieve it at arrival. This has nothing to do with J vs Y class, the same applies to people using the overhead bins in the first row of Y and than walking to their seat in row 27.
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Old Oct 28, 15, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
(...) Are you serious? The flight departed at 16h25. I think arriving more than one hour before departure with a valid boarding pass is more than plenty. (...) Even check-in only closes at 15h25, so how can someone who enters the security lines - i.e., already one stage further - at 15h15 be considered late? (...)
First of all, according to AF website, check-in deadline is 90 minutes before departure time for flights to Africa (except South Africa 60 minutes), meaning check-in closes at 14h55. Purposely showing up at the airport for a long haul flight 20 minutes after check-in is finished is irresponsible. This is NOT a flight to Manchester but to Dakar.

Second, you rightly point to the uncertainty about length of time for queuing at passport control & security and possible LISA transfer to 2L.

Third, have you ever experienced or even witnessed boarding of a flight to Africa?

I would definitely want to :

- allow time for any hiccup during passport control, security check and going to the gate. Once again, this is not a side trip to Zurich but a long haul flight to Dakar.

- be at the gate before boarding starts, to make sure all is in good order.

So yes, I am serious.
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Old Oct 28, 15, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
AF employees on a little power trip and all too happy not to find a pragmatic way to enforce a rule.
With due respect, you are being a little unfair on AF here. Yes, you could imagine that, on occasion, some agents will find a way round a problem. Here, though, my guess is that 95% of agents across all airlines would have reacted in a very similar manner with a passenger turning up at check-in with excess hand baggage. It is, imo, wholly unrealistic to expect agents to say: "don't worry and take everything with you. This will be sorted at the gate."

The "agent refusing to give his name" is a bit of a cultural thing. In some countries (Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland are some where I know it for a fact) people in "official" and "semi official" roles carry a badge with their name or a number or at least are obliged to give it when asked, so that they can be held personally responsible for what they do and how they enforce the law or certain rules. In France this is different, people believe that wearing a uniform (and be it just that of a private security firm) gives them certain powers and they are not responsible for their acts individually. It's the notion of "the state" or a firm acting on behalf of the state that interacts with the passenger/citizen, and that therefore the individual agent is not to be identified.
IMO, this is a huge exaggeration here. the refusal to give names in airport and airline context is very, very far from being something which is specifically French or related to French conceptions of the state. I will have to look again next time I am around but I do not recall airline agents in Scandinavia routinely wearing badges with their names despite the much greater value given to transparency and openness in those countries.
In the UK, where there is a very different relationship to state entities (indeed, there is often not even a concept of "the state" internally so that you have to sue individuals rather than the abstraction of "the state" even if your target is the functioning of state entities), it is also the case that airline and airport employees are not expected to give their names (although they would be expected to give you some unique identifier such as an employee number, for instance). If anything, I would have thought that the default position in most airports and airlines around the world is that names are not given, at least for front line employees (individuals higher up the hierarchy are a different matter) and that airports and airlines where employees where individuals are expected to provide their identity on request by a member of the public are an exception.


They also tried to pull that "no pictures allowed" on me, I asked them to show me the rule or sign that stipulated that, and they showed me a page from some rulebook - and panicked when I confronted them with the fact that the rule book was for security agents, not passengers. Again, they "threatened" with calling the police but then didn't when I simply said that I'd welcome the idea that they had just try to apply a rule to me which obviously applied to agents rather than passengers.
Was this in CDG? IIRC, there is a an arrêté préfectoral that prohibits the taking of photography within or towards restricted zones without a specific authorisation. So perhaps they were right even though they were unable (which is not that surprising, to be honest) to pinpoint exactly the specific piece of legislation.
With regards to persons, there are also restrictions linked to privacy and the "droit à l'image" but is, afaik, primarily directed towards publishing the photos rather than taking them as such.

Are you serious? The flight departed at 16h25. I think arriving more than one hour before departure with a valid boarding pass is more than plenty. I know that some people love going to lounges and doing duty free shopping at the airport before departure. But others consider time at the airport waiting for a plane to be a waste of time. If I had arrived at 15h15 for a 16h25 departure I would have asked myself whether I was going to watch the paint dry on the walls during all that time.
As an experienced frequent flyer, you may well want to leave it much later than officially recommended times. But if you do so, you better make sure that you have all your ducks in a row. Playing fast and loose with hand baggage restrictions and turning up late so that you can no longer check-in baggage if needed is playing with fire. And if you play with fire, you cannot really complain if you get burnt, even if you have played a 1000 times before and never had a problem.
Not mentionning the fact that no FQTV who knows "how to pack without incurring unnecessary stress" would show up in an airport with a TWENTY kilograms carry-on...."
As a matter of fact, many frequent travelers do exactly that. Because they are flying frequently and do not wand to wait at the luggage belt as frequently.
I have to agree with that. I often have anything between 10 and 20kg of hand luggage as I barely ever put anything in the hold to avoid delays waiting at the carousel and also to avoid lost baggage issues.
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Old Oct 28, 15, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by carnarvon View Post
First of all, according to AF website, check-in deadline is 90 minutes before departure time for flights to Africa (except South Africa 60 minutes), meaning check-in closes at 14h55.
OK, my bad. I was not aware that Africa has a 90 min check-in deadline, I thought it was 60 minutes like other intercontinental destination.

But: if you do not need to pass by the check-in counter anyway because you have a mobile boarding pass, then this becomes irrelevant. Whether you are flying from 2E to Manchester, Delhi or Dakar does not make your going through security and passport and LISA any longer or shorter. It's the same security lanes, the same passport lanes, the same LISA, going to the same gates. Nor do they close the doors of the flight to Dakar any earlier than to Delhi. So if for a flight to Delhi checking in at the counter up to 60 minutes before departure, going through security and passport and to the L gates is fine then I do not see why arriving at the airport 70 minutes before departure and jumping the very time-consuming first step of checking in at the counter is unreasonable only because the final destination is Dakar.

Purposely showing up at the airport for a long haul flight 20 minutes after check-in is finished is irresponsible. This is NOT a flight to Manchester but to Dakar.
So what? As explained, it doesn't matter if the final destination is Dakar when not passing by the check-in counter. Actually I would even argue that it doesn't matter if it's a longhaul or a shorthaul flight. I have observed many people planning for extra time when they go on a longer trip. The longer the trip the earlier they arrive at the airport. Some of that is rational (next flight may only be one day later) but a lot is irrational. What matters is to be at the gate before doors close. Which is completely unrelated to whether one afterwards spends 1 hour on the plane or 11 hours.

Second, you rightly point to the uncertainty about length of time for queuing at passport control & security and possible LISA transfer to 2L.
True, but we're talking 70 minutes before departure. One should be at the gate no later than 20 minutes to be certain to get on board, which leaves 50 minutes to go through passports at the main building (K gates), take the LISA and pass security at the L gates.

Third, have you ever experienced or even witnessed boarding of a flight to Africa?
Yes. And also to other destinations where there is a overexcited crowd of people with lots of luggage on them and taking a little more time to settle. But again: so what? Boarding does take longer, so the airline must plan for that (e.g., open boarding earlier and apparently close check-in earlier). But for the individual passenger, the criteria to be on board is to be there before doors close. The criteria is not to be physically present when 250 other people board, even if those 250 take longer to board when going to Dakar rather than Delhi (if that is actually the case) or Manchester.

I would definitely want to :

- allow time for any hiccup during passport control, security check and going to the gate. Once again, this is not a side trip to Zurich but a long haul flight to Dakar.
"Hiccup during passport control" can only be if there is an issue with my passport. So one should arrive much earlier because there could potentially be an issue with the passport?

Other than that, security and going to the gate, what difference between a flight to Dakar and a flight to Manchester from the neighbouring gate? Why would it take longer?

- be at the gate before boarding starts, to make sure all is in good order.
What exactly would one do at the gate before boarding starts? "Making sure all is in good order" - what does that actually involve in terms of physical activity or conversation? The only thing passengers have to do at the gate is go to the gate agent, show their boarding pass and passport, and go to the plane. Whether that happens 20 minutes before departure and one is the last passenger to board or 50 minutes before departure does not make one more boarded or less boarded. What is the benefit from watching 250 people getting on that same plane as opposed to being the last one to board?

(I understand there can be reasons to board early, such as securing space for hand luggage. But the debate here is that it is irresponsible to arrive at airport 70 minutes before departure because the flight is a longhaul flight/goes to Dakar, i.e. it's a responsibility/risk debate not a comfort debate)

Originally Posted by NickB View Post
With due respect, you are being a little unfair on AF here. Yes, you could imagine that, on occasion, some agents will find a way round a problem. Here, though, my guess is that 95% of agents across all airlines would have reacted in a very similar manner with a passenger turning up at check-in with excess hand baggage. It is, imo, wholly unrealistic to expect agents to say: "don't worry and take everything with you. This will be sorted at the gate."
1) My point was not to judge the AF crew, but merely give some credence to what had been written. In contrast to all other respondents I do not dismiss the story as pure fantasy and/or put all the blame on the pax.
2) Why is it unfair of me to ask an airline to be a little pragmatic and act in the customer's interest? Especially if all it would have taken was a phone call? If I read the story correctly there were several agents involved, so between a situation where 3 or 4 people insist on a passenger throwing away things and a situation where just one of them would have been pragmatic and understanding and said "your hand luggage is too heavy, you won't be able to take this on board, but you can't check it in here anymore because the flight is closed. I'll tell the gate to take it from you and I put a note on your boarding pass". I really struggle find a reason to advocate the first one.
3) I have experienced this in the past (with BD). Hand luggage weighed, I said that I'd need my stuff to do work in the lounge before departure, no problem. I was of course hoping that I could get on board with it. But no, at the gate they knew I was coming and took my hand luggage. And that was not even done with a phone call but somehow a note was put in the system

IMO, this is a huge exaggeration here. the refusal to give names in airport and airline context is very, very far from being something which is specifically French or related to French conceptions of the state. I will have to look again next time I am around but I do not recall airline agents in Scandinavia routinely wearing badges with their names despite the much greater value given to transparency and openness in those countries.
In the UK, where there is a very different relationship to state entities (indeed, there is often not even a concept of "the state" internally so that you have to sue individuals rather than the abstraction of "the state" even if your target is the functioning of state entities), it is also the case that airline and airport employees are not expected to give their names (although they would be expected to give you some unique identifier such as an employee number, for instance). If anything, I would have thought that the default position in most airports and airlines around the world is that names are not given, at least for front line employees (individuals higher up the hierarchy are a different matter) and that airports and airlines where employees where individuals are expected to provide their identity on request by a member of the public are an exception.
Again, I posted what I posted to say that I believed the story: security agents or airline employees in France freak out when you take the name from their badge. I didn't say this was specific to France, but I didn't mention other countries where it was similar because that wasn't the topic. I gave examples of countries where things are different.

As an experienced frequent flyer, you may well want to leave it much later than officially recommended times. But if you do so, you better make sure that you have all your ducks in a row. Playing fast and loose with hand baggage restrictions and turning up late so that you can no longer check-in baggage if needed is playing with fire. And if you play with fire, you cannot really complain if you get burnt, even if you have played a 1000 times before and never had a problem.
But this passenger had all his ducks in a row. He was at the airport early enough to make his flight. He had with him as much hand luggage as on the incoming flight where that same airline had no issue whatsoever with it, so he was not playing fast and loose with hand baggage restrictions, especially since this hand luggage was in line with what many people do take as hand luggage, including you:

I have to agree with that. I often have anything between 10 and 20kg of hand luggage as I barely ever put anything in the hold to avoid delays waiting at the carousel and also to avoid lost baggage issues.
So it was perfectly fair to assume for that passengers that having 70 minutes to departure, hand luggage that is within normal and that has not caused any issues before will not cause him any problems. People that are or at least should be aware that they may have an issue (for instance because they have a fire gun with them or a difficult visa situation or only a waiting list booking) and that arrive late do indeed play with fire. But this chap?

I am usually quite dismissive of over-dramatized rant posts, but this one sounds credible.

And to bring it back to the core of my earlier message: examples like this show how stupid it is to do the checking/weighing of hand luggage before passport control. Do it at check-in counter for those who pass by and do it at the gate, two spots where passengers can then check in their luggage. But doing it at security and leaving pax no other choice than to throw away their belongings is idiotic.
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Old Oct 28, 15, 6:06 pm
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
1) My point was not to judge the AF crew,
I am sorry but if "AF employees on a little power trip and all too happy not to find a pragmatic way to enforce a rule" is not remotely judgmental, then I do not know what is. Yes, some agents will go out of their way, will be more agile at thinking solutions, etc... but being critical of an agent for not being that star agent is a bit like criticising a village tournament chess player for not being as good as Kasparov.
Why is it unfair of me to ask an airline to be a little pragmatic and act in the customer's interest?
This is not a question of fairness but of realism. Even if, say, they have a way of doing something in Japan which is 100 times better than the way they do it in Europe, is it realistic to expect the Swiss to do things the Japanese way or should you realistically expect them to do it the European way? It is one thing to make suggestion as to how things should change. It is quite another to have an expectation that people are going to do things in a wholly different way to the way they have been told to do things.
Yes, you can have processes that empower clever agents to do things in a better way. But that has significant implications on recruitment, training and staffing policies. You will probably have to be more selective in your recruitment processes to recruit higher quality agents and also pay them more since you will expect better skills from them. It is also something which is much easier to do if you are a small team and much more difficult to manage with a large workforce.
Interesting that you mention BD. That was one of the things some of us BD regulars liked about BD, at any rate until things started to go pear-shaped in the last few years. It was a much smaller airline, with a more nimble, flexible approach. But what worked for BD would largely have been untranslatable to a larger airline like BA or AF which have more rigid processes and probably have to have more rigid processes because of the size of their operations.


But this passenger had all his ducks in a row. He was at the airport early enough to make his flight. He had with him as much hand luggage as on the incoming flight where that same airline had no issue whatsoever with it, so he was not playing fast and loose with hand baggage restrictions
Oh, come on: the "but I had no problems on the flight out" argument is a deeply, deeply disingenuous mode of reasoning. Just because a rule is not enforced 100% of the time to catch all offenders does not mean that the rule can never be enforced.
Just because there was no train inspector to check whether you had a ticket on your Lille-Rouen journey does not mean that it is perfectly OK to travel without a ticket on Rouen-Lille.
The website is very clear on what hand baggage allowances are. If you choose to ignore them, then that is your problem but you cannot then complain when those rules are enforced.

especially since this hand luggage was in line with what many people do take as hand luggage, including you
I am sorry, SG, but I take great exception to this. Yes, I often have hand baggage which is above the AF limit or, for that matter, many other airlines'. However, most of my travel is on airlines, such as BA or Easyjet, that allow me to take that much hand luggage. Secondly, while I do sometimes take hand luggage above the official allowance on some airlines, I do that in full awareness and acceptance that what I do is not allowed by the airline and I am ready to accept the consequences of this if I am questioned about my hand luggage. I would not dream of coming crying on FT complaining how it is all unfair that the airline dared apply its rules on hand baggage on me. As it happens, i have precisely that dilemma for an upcoming 4U flight and I have delayed buying my ticket as I am still not sure what to do: as I know that I will have hand luggage within their size limits but highly likely to be above their weight limit, should I just go for a basic fare and risk it with hand luggage or should I go for a smart fare and put my case in the hold (something that I am loathe to do)? If I decide to go for a "basic" fare and I turn up with a 15kg hand baggage and 4U object to it, I won't make a scene nor come running here complaining. I will take responsibility for my choices and accept the consequences.



So it was perfectly fair to assume for that passengers that having 70 minutes to departure, hand luggage that is within normal and that has not caused any issues before will not cause him any problems.
No, it is not fair to assume that the rules that what you have clearly and explicitly been told regarding your entitlement to hand luggage somehow does not really apply to you.
A simple question: if you were to phone AF and ask them whether there is a weight limit to hand luggage, what do you think they would tell you?
Do you really believe that they would tell you: well, only the dimensions are limited but there is no limit on weight?

If you do not believe that they would tell you that, then it is purely and simply disingenuous to pretend that you have a right to expect to be able to bring hand luggage without limitation of weight.

And to bring it back to the core of my earlier message: examples like this show how stupid it is to do the checking/weighing of hand luggage before passport control. Do it at check-in counter for those who pass by and do it at the gate, two spots where passengers can then check in their luggage. But doing it at security and leaving pax no other choice than to throw away their belongings is idiotic.
On the last point: they have other choices, unless they have been playing with fire and imagined that rules on hand luggage very clearly published on the website could not be applied to them.
By the same token you might as well say that even if I have luggage that I intend to put in the hold, I should ignore the deadline for checking baggage. After all, an airline should be flexible enough and responsive to passengers need to be able to do it at the gate, should they not?
And while we are at it, why require you to abide by the check-in deadline if you have been unable to OLCI or mobile CKI? Surely, a responsive airline /airport should be able to let you go through and get your boarding pass at the gate even if you arrive seconds before the aircraft door is closed?

I can quite see why some airlines would want to enforce carry-on limits at security. It is anything but idiotic: it is the one point of passage which everyone has to go though. It is not idiotic for an airline to attempt to minimise last minute processes at the gate so as to minimise the risk of delaying a departure. Now, current airport infrastructure where security check-points are normally shared by passengers on different airlines makes that difficult. But that does not mean that the idea is stupid in itself and you can certainly see why some airlines might want to try it where it appears feasible.

Don't get me wrong. I can certainly see how we could make airport and airline processes much more passenger friendly. But it seems to me wholly unrealistic to have an expectation of current processes that matches that ideal image of a perfect system, where agents are always very knowledgeable, inventive, capable of finding innovative solutions, where all processes are flexible enough to cope with everything thrown at them,etc...

Where processes are below reasonable expectations, then it is fair to criticise them. When they are within reasonable expectations even if it would be possible to ameliorate them significantly, i do not think that it is fair to criticise them or, rather, it is not fair to direct a criticism at a specific airline or airport for practices which are widely accepted in the industry.

Last edited by NickB; Oct 29, 15 at 5:04 am Reason: typo
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Old Oct 29, 15, 4:47 am
  #57  
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My two pence.

As I said, I find it quite ridiculous that airlines will bother to weigh bags and refused them as carry on on the basis of a weight which some other airlines would accept without any incident.

That said, before flying, I look at individual airlines' rules and know what to expect. Let me be the first one to admit that I will sometimes knowingly take hand luggage which fits the size but not the weight limits of a given airline and hope to get away with it. Most of the time, it works, others it does not. I had that with Emirates (7kg maximum) just two days ago. Check in lady checked my bag, it was 13kg instead of 7 and she told me I had to check it in. I did mention that I had some fragile things inside (which was true, there was some glass) but did not protest and accepted that even if the game rules are stupid, on that occasion I played and lost, as did the OP.

Over the years, I have played and lost on multiple different airlines, and played and won on very much the same. Passenger targeting based on race, etc simply ignores all the many other examples in this thread, and theft as a motivation is, in my view unlikely, but since the OP feels that she (based on the clothing details I am assuming we are dealing with a she) was the victim of two different illegal actions (discrimination based on ethnicity, and theft), she did all she had to and went to complain to the police who would have investigated her complaint. The people that she accuses are innocent until proven guilty, and I assume that if a Court finds in her favour, she will report to us to confirm that rather than leave her accusations unsubstantiated as is currently the case. I am not interesting in reviewing evidence (video or otherwise) that is provided to a Court - I am not a Court - or double guessing how true or false her accusations are since someone more competent than me will do so in a formal context.

In the meantime, I do not see the point of mentioning all this let alone compensation claims on an internet forum. You either go the legal route or the customer recovery one, but you do not mix genres. Since the OP has clearly chosen the legal route, this is what she should stick to and I would feel that it would be inappropriate of me to comment on the customer side of things which is not the one that she has chosen in the first place.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
I am sorry but if "AF employees on a little power trip and all too happy not to find a pragmatic way to enforce a rule" is not remotely judgmental, then I do not know what is.
Of course it's judgmental. I never pretended otherwise. But I said that "my point was not to be judgmental". I could have said "my main intention was not to be judgmental". To put things back in the context they came from: there were a series of posts that were very dismissive of the long complaint post up-thread. I tried to convey that I actually do believe a number of facts and elements and that they are neither made up nor exaggerated. I believe stories of:

  • AF agents that prefer asking a passenger to throw away his belongings rather than resorting to a very simple and pragmatic solution which would have helped the pax whilst still enforcing the rules. (My original wording was judgmental, the point was to say that I believe that such agents do exist at AF)
  • AF agents panicking when someone takes their name from a badge. (Again, I added some colour about that happening also with security staff and that this is wide-spread in France and less so in some other countries)
  • Having issues with pictures taken at airports (again, personal anecdote was just to describve that I believe it because it had happened to me).

Admittedly my wording was more colourful in style and had judgmental connotations. But my post was in response to a number of other equally colourful and judgmental posts. I hope that this attempt to word it factually conveys the message better.

Yes, some agents will go out of their way, will be more agile at thinking solutions, etc... but being critical of an agent for not being that star agent is a bit like criticising a village tournament chess player for not being as good as Kasparov.
OK, now we no longer discuss whether my beliefs make sense or not, but we discuss the judgmental part of my post. No issue with it, I just wanted to separate the two.

On my suggestion that a check-in agent can give the gate a ring and tell them that a passenger will come with hand luggage that exceeds the limit and that hand luggage should be taken away and put in the hold: I do not think that this is something so extraordinary that one needs to be a "star agent" or the Kasparov-equivalent of check-in agents. Check-in agents do place calls to the gate all the time and for all kinds of reasons, and hand luggage gets confiscated at the gate and put into the hold all the time. So why not make a call and say that hand luggage should be confiscated at the gate? Is it really such a strike of genius? Personally I don't think so. But maybe our views differ.

This is not a question of fairness but of realism.
Err, it was you who in the previous post asked:

With due respect, you are being a little unfair on AF here.
So I responded to your point of being unfair with a statement on fairness. Fair, isn't it?

Even if, say, they have a way of doing something in Japan which is 100 times better than the way they do it in Europe, is it realistic to expect the Swiss to do things the Japanese way or should you realistically expect them to do it the European way? It is one thing to make suggestion as to how things should change. It is quite another to have an expectation that people are going to do things in a wholly different way to the way they have been told to do things.
Again, I think that my suggestion of a simple solution that the AF agents could have applied is very far from expecting some very distant best-in-class performance to be imported to Air France. We are not talking about making a superhuman effort and applying extreme creativity. We are talking about Air France agents having a choice between asking a customer to throw away his belongings or making one more phone call (or putting a note on the boarding pass). They chose to let the customer throw away his things. I think it's fair to criticize that choice.

Yes, you can have processes that empower clever agents to do things in a better way. But that has significant implications on recruitment, training and staffing policies. You will probably have to be more selective in your recruitment processes to recruit higher quality agents and also pay them more since you will expect better skills from them. It is also something which is much easier to do if you are a small team and much more difficult to manage with a large workforce.
That is all very true for things where agents have to make true judgment calls (no pun intended), such as waiving change fees or breaking ticket rules or even breaking rules on weight limitations for hand luggage. But again, we are talking about doing something they do all the time anyway (communicating with the gate) and to ask their colleagues to do something that they do all the time anyway (confiscating hand luggage at the gate). It doesn't take Egon Zehnder to recruit such profiles. A combination of common sense and customer orientation would suffice. And that is just what many AF agents lack (much more so in the past than now, but still).

Interesting that you mention BD. That was one of the things some of us BD regulars liked about BD, at any rate until things started to go pear-shaped in the last few years. It was a much smaller airline, with a more nimble, flexible approach. But what worked for BD would largely have been untranslatable to a larger airline like BA or AF which have more rigid processes and probably have to have more rigid processes because of the size of their operations.
My statement that the AF agents could have applied a customer-friendly solution without much effort or imagination stands, with or without the BD example. I mentioned that simply because that was the one time where I had experienced it. Other times I was just lucky I guess.

Oh, come on: the "but I had no problems on the flight out" argument is a deeply, deeply disingenuous mode of reasoning. Just because a rule is not enforced 100% of the time to catch all offenders does not mean that the rule can never be enforced.
Just because there was no train inspector to check whether you had a ticket on your Lille-Rouen journey does not mean that it is perfectly OK to travel without a ticket on Rouen-Lille.
With all due respect, it is also disingeneous to pick just a part of my sentence and make it appear as if I was applying the "but-this-has-always-worked-rule" (which I agree with you is nonsense). I argued that because a combination of things were in place there was no reason for the traveler to suspect that he was "playing it loose" and "playing with fire" as you mentioned: he may very well not be aware of the exact weight of his hand luggage (and I am absolutely certain that most people are not) and believed that it is within limits PLUS the fact that he could travel on the same airline without issues in the past. Of course that does not give the passenger any right not to respect the weight limits, but that isn't the point here (I trust you have noticed that I never suggested AF should have just ignored its rules and let him get away with it). The point is that I fully sympathise with the passenger going to the airport thinking that all is well. And it is worthwhile noting that the passenger never asked for the rules to be bended. It's just a matter of someone going to the airport sufficiently early, thinking all is in order and having no obvious reason to doubt that all is in order, being asked to check the piece of hand luggage because it's too heavy, agreeing to it, and then being forced to throw away some of his items because there is no possibility to check in at the counter or at the gate.

The website is very clear on what hand baggage allowances are. If you choose to ignore them, then that is your problem but you cannot then complain when those rules are enforced.
But nobody complains about the rules being enforced!!! Re-read the post by the Dakar traveler, there is no such suggestion at all. Nor by me in anything that I have written.

The complaint is about the fact that doing the weight check before passport control rather than at the gate leads to situations where hand luggage can no longer be checked but passengers have to destroy their belongings.

Nothing wrong *that* the rules are being enforced, it is *how* they are enforced.

I am sorry, SG, but I take great exception to this. Yes, I often have hand baggage which is above the AF limit or, for that matter, many other airlines'. However, most of my travel is on airlines, such as BA or Easyjet, that allow me to take that much hand luggage. Secondly, while I do sometimes take hand luggage above the official allowance on some airlines, I do that in full awareness and acceptance that what I do is not allowed by the airline and I am ready to accept the consequences of this if I am questioned about my hand luggage.
Yes, that is how I understood your post. And I didn't imply anything else.

I would not dream of coming crying on FT complaining how it is all unfair that the airline dared apply its rules on hand baggage on me.
No, you wouldn't. But the thread's subject is hand luggage weighing procedures in Paris, where one passengers shares his experience where that setup led to a situation where he couldn't check in his heavy hand luggage despite being perfectly willing to and then not getting any sympathy from the airline but instead experiencing how personal belongings were stolen. I do not know if that last bit is true, but I think it's sufficient to complain about it.

As it happens, i ...

No, it is not fair to assume ...

A simple question: if you were to phone AF ...

I'd expect them to tell me what the weight limit ...

If you do not believe that they would tell you that, then it is purely and simply disingenuous to pretend that you have a right to expect to be able to bring hand luggage without limitation of weight.
You make several statements trying to convince me that the limits of hand luggage should be enforced. But there you are preaching to a converted. I never said that they shouldn't. What I did say is
i) that the setup in which AF does it is idiotic because it leads to situations like the one shared in the post up-thread and which would be easy to avoid if the checking was done at the gate (in addition to the check-in counter for those that pass by the counter) and
ii) that in the situation described it would have been very easy for AF to find a pragmatic solution for the passenger without breaking their own rules, but they preferred the drastic solution which was to have the passenger having to throw away belongings.

On the last point: they have other choices, unless they have been playing with fire and imagined that rules on hand luggage very clearly published on the website could not be applied to them.
By the same token you might as well say that even if I have luggage that I intend to put in the hold, I should ignore the deadline for checking baggage. After all, an airline should be flexible enough and responsive to passengers need to be able to do it at the gate, should they not?
Nope, not saying that. But I think that there sometimes are situations where the tradeoff between a passenger's mysery and the airline making a tiny little extra effort (make a call to the gate or scribble something on the boarding pass) should be in favour of helping out the client. Yes, there are rules. Yes, they should be applied. But heavens, these are *customers*, not *usagers*, so if they need a little helping hand to abide by the rules, give it. It's not as if this kind of thing happened every day.

And while we are at it, why require you to abide by the check-in deadline if you have been unable to OLCI or mobile CKI? Surely, a responsive airline /airport should be able to let you go through and get your boarding pass at the gate even if you arrive seconds before the aircraft door is closed?
Not really the same thing. There are things which I can easily determine if they're in order or not. I either have a boarding pass or I don't. If I don't have one, arrive at the airport before the CKI deadline. And airlines are formal: no BP, no flying. But most people don't weigh their hand luggage, they take an approximative guess. And airlines aren't consistent either, in the majority of cases hand luggage rules are not enforced, neither on weight nor on size nor on number of pieces. Except on LCCs and on fully booked flights, and when some gate agent or cabin crew feels like it. Then, ff the hand luggage is too heavy, live with the consequences and check it in. But don't be forced to destroy your belongings only because the airline has decided that the check-in of that luggage cannot happen at the gate.

I can quite see why some airlines would want to enforce carry-on limits at security. It is anything but idiotic: it is the one point of passage which everyone has to go though. It is not idiotic for an airline to attempt to minimise last minute processes at the gate so as to minimise the risk of delaying a departure. Now, current airport infrastructure where security check-points are normally shared by passengers on different airlines makes that difficult. But that does not mean that the idea is stupid in itself and you can certainly see why some airlines might want to try it where it appears feasible.
It is absolutely stupid because it can lead exactly to situations like the one described above.

Don't get me wrong. I can certainly see how we could make airport and airline processes much more passenger friendly. But it seems to me wholly unrealistic to have an expectation of current processes that matches that ideal image of a perfect system, where agents are always very knowledgeable, inventive, capable of finding innovative solutions, where all processes are flexible enough to cope with everything thrown at them,etc...
Agreed, it is wholly unrealistic. But it isn't needed either, so it doesn't really matter how realistic it is. It is not as if we are asking someone to improvise the startup procedure of a Saturn V rocket after the planned procedure has failed.

Where processes are below reasonable expectations, then it is fair to criticise them. When they are within reasonable expectations even if it would be possible to ameliorate them significantly, i do not think that it is fair to criticise them or, rather, it is not fair to direct a criticism at a specific airline or airport for practices which are widely accepted in the industry.
Is it widely accepted in the industry that weighing of hand luggage has to happen at security or passport control, running the risk that passengers have no more possibility to check their hand luggage? I don't think so, and the reason for that is that the instances of hand luggage check at security that have existed in the past have mostly (all?) disappeared. It is now done at the gate, which makes sense.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 3:36 pm
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There's something inherently silly about allowing a passenger weighing 90 kg to board with a 2kg bag but deny a 55 kg passenger to bring a 13 kg bag.
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Old Oct 29, 15, 4:53 pm
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There were a couple of airlines that tried ticketing by (pax!) weight. Most were short-lived, the only one who (I think) kept it on was Samoa air - well, I guess going by their local market, they had to...

Originally Posted by WheelsFirst View Post
There's something inherently silly about allowing a passenger weighing 90 kg to board with a 2kg bag but deny a 55 kg passenger to bring a 13 kg bag.
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