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Alaska First Class Baggage Fiasco 2x70lbs vs 2x50lbs

Alaska First Class Baggage Fiasco 2x70lbs vs 2x50lbs

Old Jan 9, 20, 1:54 am
  #1  
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Alaska First Class Baggage Fiasco 2x70lbs vs 2x50lbs

I had a problematic interaction with AS in paid First Class on 7 Jan JFK-LAX. It was part of a paid La Premiere Air France reservation/ticket with a 27 hour layover in New York. Nevertheless, I was entitled to baggage allowance of 2x32kg/2x70lbs as printed on the published ticket that stated JFK-LAX has 2x32KG allowance and also under IATA Resolution 302 either under the first carrier or Most Significant Carrier (MSC) rules of the ticket. On Alaska online Check-in app, the baggage page also showed that Baggage Rules will follow UL (my first carrier on the AF ticket), therefore 2x32KG. The agent I checked in with at JFK refused to check on the rules of the ticket and what the baggage rules were showing on my Alaska app insisted I paid for the overweight <32KG portion. Her argument was that all Alaska First Class tickets are 2x50lbs. As we were running close to cut-off, I paid the 70USD and decided to catch my flight.

Two things immediately occur to me. One, I had a choice between AS and DL as part of the through ticket on JFK-LAX and I chose AS because of loyalty. DL would have been easier because DL offered 2x32KG as part of international business class convention AND had a flat bed - it would also have no problems pulling up fare and baggage rules of partner tickets. Two, for all of the rhetoric behind the strength of AS' partner network, AS is incredibly out of synch with its partners - consistent baggage rules are part of any partner through-fare and even if the agents had problems accessing the tickets, AS could have easily offered 2x70 for first class to avoid being out of synch and this problem in the first place. Why be the odd one out? Even if AS offered 32kg, not every first class passenger is going to avail of it.

Moreover, the AS agents at JFK were incredibly unfriendly - and this despite providing feedback on my previous lackluster experiences at that station. I'm really disappointed and wonder what my recourse is right now.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 2:04 am
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Ask for a refund.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 2:15 am
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AS is supposed to check the booking carriers allowance as I had same on KLM with 60 lb bag. After checking on his computer he AS has 50 lb max but said fine. You need to request refund from AS first and if an issue AF. You should not pay any excess between 50 and 70 lbs.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 8:14 am
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Ask for a refund. If tight on time, yes pay then refund.

Otherwise ask for a station supervisor or manager. Depending on the location, some have a better "understanding"

I don't think JFK sees many in your position. ANC/SEA is much more common.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 9:43 am
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This has happened to me before. Once. Over ten years ago. So I wouldn’t call it a common issue, even though it is frustrating. Just request a refund.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by beckoa View Post

I don't think JFK sees many in your position. ANC/SEA is much more common.
That matters not, especially when an agent has fare rules right in front of him/her. What matters is that AS trains its agents (or subcontract agents) how to read baggage allowance rules. If an agent can see that you get no, 1, or 2 free bags, the same agent can also see the associated weight rules.

Maybe even an agent could read AS' own website.

Travel that includes multiple airlines or tickets

If your travel includes multiple tickets, and/or travel on more than one airline, your baggage fees and rules may be determined by the other airline. Please check your ticket, or call Alaska Airlines Reservations at 1-800-252-7522 to help determine which airline rules and fees apply to your journey.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 9:47 am
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1. Unless you have time, pay the fee and then seek a refund. Make certain to include your e-ticket receipt showing the segment allowance as you believe it to be.
2. If the refund does not appear, file a DOT complaint. As the destination is the US, US law applies. Do not mention IATA. It is a trade organization for air carriers and has zero impact on US legal decisions.

This is simply incompetent on the pat of AS. The DOT rule is simple and the reason for requiring that e-tickets specify the baggage allowance is to avoid complexities between carriers and having to train agents in local variation of rules. Moreover, all it took was for the AS agent to ask a supervisor or her own help desk and she would have had an answer/

There is something to be said for filing a DOT complaint even if AS refunds the fee as DOT does keep track of the metrics of complaints and will take enforcement action if AS routinely violates US law. But, life is also short and perhaps not worth your time.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 10:20 am
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Or, next time, just fly DL and forget about AS. The DL flat beds would have made the decision for me...
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Old Jan 9, 20, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by formeraa View Post
Or, next time, just fly DL and forget about AS. The DL flat beds would have made the decision for me...
This, yes. Alaska is almost dead to me at this point. With the "elite tax" via basic economy, reduced network and frequency, hollowed out partnerships, and increasingly disappointing ground staff at JFK and LAX where I frequent most, maybe it's time to go completely free agent.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by currentjer View Post
I had a problematic interaction with AS in paid First Class on 7 Jan JFK-LAX. It was part of a paid La Premiere Air France reservation/ticket with a 27 hour layover in New York....
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I might be wrong here but doesn’t the 27 hour “layover” mean that this is not a connection but a stopover? Does that change the equation and at the start of the onward portion, the baggage allowance would be whatever AS allows? i.e. if it was a <24 hr true connection, the AF allowance would apply but this was actually a stopover?
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Old Jan 9, 20, 11:41 am
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I believe that's accurate ... the fact that the flights were on the same ticket is irrelevant (although if the original booking was 23+59 or less, and a schedule change resulted in the 27-hour JFK transit, OP might have a better case)
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Old Jan 9, 20, 12:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
I might be wrong here but doesn’t the 27 hour “layover” mean that this is not a connection but a stopover? Does that change the equation and at the start of the onward portion, the baggage allowance would be whatever AS allows? i.e. if it was a <24 hr true connection, the AF allowance would apply but this was actually a stopover?
It’s written clearly on the eticket and reservation 2x32kg. Also, AS seems to be the only US carrier with asinine allowance of 2x25kg for premium classes.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 12:19 pm
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Originally Posted by currentjer View Post
With the "elite tax" via basic economy [...]
Wouldn't basic economy be an elite tax for any airline?
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Old Jan 9, 20, 12:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
I might be wrong here but doesn’t the 27 hour “layover” mean that this is not a connection but a stopover? Does that change the equation and at the start of the onward portion, the baggage allowance would be whatever AS allows? i.e. if it was a <24 hr true connection, the AF allowance would apply but this was actually a stopover?
Nope.

US law -- since 2011 -- is that, in this situation, the allowance of the marketing carrier of the first segment applies to all segments (Note: does not include waivers for status or CC's). Thus, connection vs. stopover is irrelevant. Equally important is that the e-ticket must specify the baggage allowance for each segment as well as the fee, if any, for the first and second bags.

If the marketing carrier got it wrong, then it AS may pursue that carrier (not likely), but the passenger is entitled to the stated allowance.

This DOT rule was all designed to make this simple, both for the carrier and the passenger. It is a simple IT failure at AS that the agent did not see OP's allowance on screen when the PNR was pulled up. Hardly surprising.
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Old Jan 9, 20, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
I believe that's accurate ... the fact that the flights were on the same ticket is irrelevant (although if the original booking was 23+59 or less, and a schedule change resulted in the 27-hour JFK transit, OP might have a better case)
The fact that the flights were on the same ticket is key, because the baggage rules are incorporated into each segment of the ticket, appearing right there on the ticket.
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