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Forced to gate check carry-ons then hit with a $600 excess baggage fee!

Forced to gate check carry-ons then hit with a $600 excess baggage fee!

Old Oct 13, 19, 11:04 pm
  #1  
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Unhappy Forced to gate check carry-ons then hit with a $600 excess baggage fee!

Just want to share an unexpectedly bad experience with ANA at the gate in Vancouver.
I was travelling with three others from YYC to Manila with two stops in YVR and Tokyo. Air Canada was the carrier that brought us to Vancouver. The gate agent in YYC stopped us and forced us to gate check three of our carry-ons straight to Manila as the flight was "full". The flight then proceeded uneventfully with many overhead bins empty!
Fast forward to the gate in YVR, the ANA gate agent advised us that there would be a $600 excess baggage charge because the total free checked baggage allowance was 8 pieces for the four of us. With three carry-ons gate checked, we were informed that our total checked bags was now 11 pieces and they have to charge us $200 per excess piece that was gate-checked in YYC. We tried to explain that we didn't choose to gate check the bags and Air Canada forced us to, but she wouldn't waive the fee and was told I have to contact Air Canada for a refund or some sort of compensation.
I understand that it's not really ANA's fault as they are just following their rules but the Air Canada gate agents in YYC never told us that there was going to be a fee to pay once we reached YVR.
The onboard experience was excellent as always on ANA, but this gate experience in YVR left me feeling frustrated. Unfortunately, I am due to fly this route again soon, so I just have a few questions:

1. Can you tell the gate agent that you wish not to gate check carry-ons especially when you have a connecting flight with a different airline?
2. If the gate agents in YYC checked the carry-ons only up to YVR, would there still be an excess fee?
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Old Oct 14, 19, 12:36 pm
  #2  
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Ouch, that is unfortunate. I was going to say that I thought the first carrier determines the baggage fees of a multi-flight itinerary, so if AC didn't charge you for them, you should not have been charged subsequently.

However, it seems that there is a "most significant carrier" rule for multi-carrier journeys:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g...ine.Trips.html
https://www.airnewzealand.com/most-significant-carrier
which would suggest that these excess pieces are charged by ANA's policy, not AC's. And there are lots of complicated exceptions, but here it seems ANA is the most significant carrier.

But anyway in this case you were involuntarily forced to check your bags. I don't know if you'll get far with asking AC, because you would be in essence requesting that they pay ANA for the baggage fees charged (not a refund of something they charged). That seems very difficult.

Has anyone had success in appealing directly to ANA via some help line on such issues?

Edit, I note there is an exception called out on NZ's page -- was AC your marketing carrier?

There are two exceptions to the MSC rule:

  • Starting or ending in the USA or Canada: If your single-ticketed journey starts or ends in the USA or Canada (this does not include journeys that only pass through the USA or Canada), the 'first marketing carrier' decides the allowance and charges that will apply for the entire journey. They can apply their airline's rules or those of the 'most significant carrier'. Where Air New Zealand is the 'first marketing carrier' we always apply the most significant carrier's rules, which may not be our own. For return trips, if you travel in a different class or have different fare products in each direction (such as Business Premier one way and Economy the other or Seat and Seat + Bag), the same carrier's rules apply but the allowances may differ as they will be based on the applicable fare types and classes of travel purchased in each direction
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Old Oct 14, 19, 12:50 pm
  #3  
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Sounds like it's time to complain to the CTA

Originally Posted by TA View Post
Ouch, that is unfortunate. I was going to say that I thought the first carrier determines the baggage fees of a multi-flight itinerary, so if AC didn't charge you for them, you should not have been charged subsequently.
The first carrier is responsible for charging the fees though, so if AC didn't charge them in YYC, NH shouldn't have charged them in YVR. It's the same as if AC had charged excess baggage fees and then NH charged them again. That's been against the rules for a while
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Old Oct 14, 19, 1:07 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by pewpew View Post
Sounds like it's time to complain to the CTA

...
Or alternatively, it occurred to me that this is the kind of customer-mishap case that one of the travel bloggers or travel magazine consumer advocates might be interested in taking up.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 1:27 pm
  #5  
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Has anyone had success in appealing directly to ANA via some help line on such issues?
I purchased the ticket directly from the ANA website and did send ANA an email about what happened. This was the response I got back from them:
----------
Dear Mr. xxxxx:


Thank you for your patience while we communicated with our relevant
section.


Mr. xxxxx, ANA Vancouver Airport report indicates that the total of 4
passengers including yourself traveled together from Calgary to Manila. According to the tickets, each passenger was allowed to
bring two pieces (2PC) of checked baggage each weighing no more than
23 kg per piece. Therefore, the 4 passengers had free baggage
allowance of 8 check-in bags total.


As you described, 3 extra pieces (total 11 bags) of checked
baggage were transferred from Air Canada to ANA flight. Mr. xxxxx,
we truly empathize with your situation as we read that these 3 bags
were your carry-on baggage and you had no intention to bring it as
checked baggage.


In the meantime, we ask for your genuine understanding that the
particular baggage check-in was processed by Air Canada without
providing any excess baggage ticket or coupon to the passengers who
have interline connection with another air carrier.


In good faith Mr. xxxxx, we ask for your kind support that ANA
Vancouver staff was justified to collect the excess baggage fee CAD 600.00
(CAD 200 x 3 bags) due to the check-in of additional bags, and we are
unable to meet your request to refund the charged amount.


Mr. xxxxx, it is most unfortunate that this incident marred your overall
travel experience with ANA. Please be advised that we have forwarded a
report sharing your experience with our concerned sections so they may
request Air Canada’s support to avoid such actions in the future.


While our response may differ from your expectations, we thank you for
bringing this matter to our attention and this opportunity to communicate
with you. We may only hope to restore your trust in the near future.


Sincerely,


xxxxx.
- ANA SKY WEB -
Customer Relations & Services, The Americas
----------
I have sent Air Canada an email as well regarding what happened and am still waiting for their response.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 1:33 pm
  #6  
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While it is terrible customer service, NH was justified in collecting the fee because AC did not (and with good reason). It is unusual for an onwards carrier to do this, but not unheard of.

Rather than NH, I would approach AC for the refund. Presuming that your carry-ons were :"legal" it was simply an unfortunate circumstance that there was no room for the bags. But, AC should have absorbed the additional cost and did not. While I would not hold my breath for AC to refund the excess baggage fees, it is AC which should have dealt with the issue and did not.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 2:20 pm
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Well, to me AC is at fault, but I think it will be nearly impossible to get a refund. This is going to take some higher ups in the support line, AC will need to talk to ANA and figure out what's what. Sadly, I don't see a high chance of things going well unless you go to someone like the CTA as mentioned.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 2:26 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
While it is terrible customer service, NH was justified in collecting the fee because AC did not (and with good reason). It is unusual for an onwards carrier to do this, but not unheard of.

Rather than NH, I would approach AC for the refund. Presuming that your carry-ons were :"legal" it was simply an unfortunate circumstance that there was no room for the bags. But, AC should have absorbed the additional cost and did not. While I would not hold my breath for AC to refund the excess baggage fees, it is AC which should have dealt with the issue and did not.
It seems to me that AC was at fault for checking the legal carry-ons through to the OP's final destination. Had AC merely checked the carry-ons only to YVR, the OP could have claimed them there, and then carried them on to the ANA flights. The OP should not have to pay for what seems to be an obvious error on AC's part.

That said, if time permitted, couldn't the OP have requested that AC or ANA offload the bags at YVR?
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Old Oct 14, 19, 2:53 pm
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That said, if time permitted, couldn't the OP have requested that AC or ANA offload the bags at YVR?
My connection in YVR was only about two hours thanks to the AC flight coming in late and I did ask the ANA agent if the bag could come off the aircraft but she said it wasn't possible as the bag was already tagged to the final destination when it was gate-checked in YYC.

Sadly, I don't see a high chance of things going well unless you go to someone like the CTA as mentioned.
I did send an email to the CTA as well regarding what happened, so far nothing has been heard back yet.
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Old Oct 14, 19, 8:29 pm
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Consumer advocacy groups and travel bloggers should be all over this. OP's bags were involuntarily checked, end of story. NH's primary fault or not, this is a typical big corporation, 'screw-the-little-guy' move on their part and in this specific case, one of the weaknesses of NH being a typically Japanese company.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 11:25 am
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Used a credit card?

I assume a credit card was used to pay the fee? I’d disputed the charge. I’d print the relevant baggage allowance section and state you were in accord with that and you were forced to check and no warning was given of costs. With that info dispute the charge and let the airlines figure it out.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 11:25 am
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More to the point, they were involuntarily checked even though the OP was within allowed baggage limits (i.e. per OP's comments, they weren't trying to carry extra bags into the cabin).

I know I go to this well frequently, but would a chargeback/contesting the (presumed) CC charge be worth pursuing (taking the attitude that, in a pinch, ANA should take this out of AC's hide)?

And...well, let's just say that we're back to the fact that I would very much like to see rules requiring short gate-checking/gate pickup at the end of a segment (a la "pink tagging") to be allowed. Not gonna happen, but it would be nice (especially if I'm trying to avoid dealing with a clumsy ticketing situation and/or an airport with a bad baggage terminal).

(Also, I can definitely read between the lines, but the degree cultural misconnect between the Japanese corporation's phrasing and how it would come across to a regular, irate North American traveler is impressive.)
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Old Oct 15, 19, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by CanadianWings View Post
My connection in YVR was only about two hours thanks to the AC flight coming in late and I did ask the ANA agent if the bag could come off the aircraft but she said it wasn't possible as the bag was already tagged to the final destination when it was gate-checked in YYC.

I did send an email to the CTA as well regarding what happened, so far nothing has been heard back yet.
I wouldn’t bother with the CTA. I expect they’ll tell you that AC’s tariffs allow it to force you to check in your carry-on bags, and ANA’s tariff allows it to charge for them. Their core philosophy is that the onus is on the passenger to prove that the airlines violated their tariffs by charging you. Unless you’re getting a competent lawyer, or are one yourself, good luck. Go through their decisions to see what you’re up against.

You will be much better off going to small claims court instead. CTA is usually a waste of time and energy.
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Old Oct 15, 19, 8:48 pm
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I would have flat out told ANA to "just send Air Canada an interline debit memo as it is their mistake".
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Old Oct 15, 19, 8:52 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by gengar View Post
Consumer advocacy groups and travel bloggers should be all over this. OP's bags were involuntarily checked, end of story. NH's primary fault or not, this is a typical big corporation, 'screw-the-little-guy' move on their part and in this specific case, one of the weaknesses of NH being a typically Japanese company.
Reading the responses now, I agree with your last sentence.

ANA's response:

Mr. xxxxx, it is most unfortunate that this incident marred your overall
travel experience with ANA. Please be advised that we have forwarded a
report sharing your experience with our concerned sections so they may
request Air Canada’s support to avoid such actions in the future.


basically admits that the situation should not have happened.

In this case, NH wouldn't even incur any real loss by refunding the fee, as the correct situation would've been the OP carrying bags on anyway -- hence the added weight is already incurred and all that cost NH was some additional baggage handling (if even). It's not like their action "teaches someone a lesson" about baggage overage for the future.

Why not acknowledge the mistake and work to have their corporate refund the mistake, rather than put the burden on the customer?
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