Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Global Airline Alliances > SkyTeam
Reload this Page >

How to avoid baggage fees?

How to avoid baggage fees?

Old Feb 10, 2020, 8:25 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 13
Question How to avoid baggage fees?

I'm looking for advice on how to avoid baggage fees on international flights that include code shares.

Short Version:
My wife and I bought tickets from Air France. We are Delta SkyMiles Medallion members. Last week, on the first leg of our return, we flew from Catania, Italy to Rome on an Alitalia code share. At the airport, we discovered that the limit for hand luggage was 12 Kg (Ths was our fault. We didn't check the rules for Air France baggage). Alitalia told us that since we had not indicated baggage on our check-in, we needed to pay 126 Euro total for 1 bag each. Looking at the Air France website, it indicates 0 or 23 Kg for baggage allowance for Economy fares. On our itinerary on the AF website, it shows reads "1 X Accessory, 1X Hand Baggage". So how is anybody supposed to figure out what the allowance will be? After the flight, I called AF and after some wrangling and misinformation, they gave us Delta credit for the charges, based on the fact that we had SkyTeam Elite status.

I would like to hear advice on strategies to avoid being blindsided by confusing baggage policies in the future.

Longer Version:
Alitalia apparently charged us a 20% surcharge on our baggage because we didn't add baggage before arriving at the airport. The problem is that, even had we known that we needed to, the Alitalia website would now allow online check-in. Also, they ignored the fact that our tickets indicated Delta Medallion status, which should have provided free checked baggage. When I talked to Air France, the rep told me that it was my fault, because I should have known that Alitalia was the carrier for that leg and that their rules applied. The AF rep was apparently unaware that the rules state that the first leg carrier's baggage rules apply. I talked to a supervisor and read her the rule and she agreed that AF baggage policy should have applied. A good learning experience for us, but not a pleasant one.
Orville is offline  
Old Feb 10, 2020, 9:36 am
  #2  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 50,262
Need a lot more detail in order to provide non-speculative information.

What was the exact routing of the entire ticket? What carrier marketed the ticket? How did you purchase the ticket, e.g. website vs. TA? What was the baggage allowance as stated on your e-tickets?
Often1 is offline  
Old Feb 10, 2020, 12:03 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
Posts: 4,425
Also, it's unclear whether you already had a checked in bag and AZ asked you to also check your hand luggage as it was too heavy or if that was your only luggage.

As for your question of " So how is anybody supposed to figure out what the allowance will be? " it's pretty easy to find https://www.airfrance.us/US/en/commo...-airfrance.htm
Ditto is offline  
Old Feb 11, 2020, 11:12 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 13
Details:
Tickets and complete itinerary were booked with AF.
Outbound Itinerary:
Atlanta to Paris (AF flight)
Paris to Malta (AF Flight)

Return Itinerary:
Catania, Italy to Rome (Alitalia)
Rome to Atlanta (Delta)

Originally Posted by Ditto
Also, it's unclear whether you already had a checked in bag and AZ asked you to also check your hand luggage as it was too heavy or if that was your only luggage.
We intended to carry all bags as hand baggage, but the weight exceeded the 12 Kg limit. We checked 1 bag each (total of 2 bags).

Originally Posted by Ditto
As for your question of " So how is anybody supposed to figure out what the allowance will be? " it's pretty easy to find https://www.airfrance.us/US/en/commo...-airfrance.htm
That's a good source of information. Here's what I think is relevant:
Checked baggage allowance by travel cabin
  • In the Economy cabin (Light fare), you can purchase an additional checked baggage Option.
  • In the Economy cabin (except Light fare), you are entitled to 1 checked baggage item weighing up to 23 kg / 50 lb.
Our tickets show up on the receipt as "Economy". I don't know the definition of "Light Fare", but I don't see that indicated anywhere. As far as I can tell, we should have been entitled to 1 23 Kg bag/each.. The AF rep said that we had "Basic Economy" tickets, but I don't see that indicated nor do I see it defined as part of the baggage rules. Overriding all of this is the fact that we both have Delta Medallion/SkyTeam Elite status which should provide 1 checked bag on all flights.

So, again, what is the strategy to avoid getting jerked around by a code share airline? In this case, other circumstances were that Alitalia's website was not functional and would not let us complete our check-in prior to arrival at the airport. Also, we were checking it at 5:30AM, and Alitalia's Catania operation was a complete clown show.
Orville is offline  
Old Feb 11, 2020, 3:22 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
Posts: 4,425
When you book the ticket on AF website, it would usually clearly indicate your checked luggage allowance, including any FFP benefits, for example during booking while logged in to my FB account (note hand luggage is also clearly mentioned...).


The same should also reflect if you use the AF app for example, or on the AF website if you check your booking.
Your e-ticket will show your baggage allowance *Excluding* any FFP benefits, so this could give you an indication if you booked a 'light' fare or not.
Even AZ "light fare" T&Cs clearly indicate you should get free luggage as STE - https://www.alitalia.com/en_it/offer...onditions.html
Members of the Freccia Alata Plus, Freccia Alata, Ulisse, Elite and Elite Plus Clubs will be entitled to:

One piece of hold baggage plus any sports equipment
Change their seat and/or choose an Extra Comfort Seat (only available to Freccia Alata Plus and Freccia Alata Members)
Check in at the airport, only in the lounge if permitted (only for Freccia Alata and Freccia Alata Plus) or at the SkyPriority priority desks (only for Ulisse, Freccia Alata Plus, Freccia Alata and Elite Plus)


I don't think a "strategy" is needed other than insisting you should get free luggage and presenting your FFP card if needed.

Also for future reference AF hand luggage rules are completely irrelevant here as your had your flights operated by AZ and DL, AZ have a much stricter hand luggage policy (only 8KG), this is of course clearly indicated on AZ website and can be found by a simple google search 'alitalia hand baggage' or so.

Last edited by Ditto; Feb 11, 2020 at 3:41 pm
Ditto is offline  
Old Feb 11, 2020, 3:40 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
Posts: 4,425
Originally Posted by Orville
The AF rep was apparently unaware that the rules state that the first leg carrier's baggage rules apply. I talked to a supervisor and read her the rule and she agreed that AF baggage policy should have applied. A good learning experience for us, but not a pleasant one.
Just to comment separately on that, it is completely irrelevant, all your flights are marketed as AF and as such AF baggage policies apply to all checked luggage, and will usually be identical for the inbound and outbound flights (unless you're flying different cabin e.g.)
The DOT rule you quote here as well as IATA resolution 302 are only relevant in case of having different marketing carriers.
Ditto is offline  
Old Feb 11, 2020, 4:05 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Accor 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Paris, France
Programs: AF/KL Flying Blue Platinum for life/Club2000 Ultimate, Accor ALL Diamond
Posts: 22,267
Originally Posted by Orville
Paris to Malta (AF Flight)
This flight is not operated by AF but by Air Malta.
Goldorak is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2020, 7:13 am
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 13
I think this is the key takeaway:

I don't think a "strategy" is needed other than insisting you should get free luggage and presenting your FFP card if needed.
Otherwise:

Originally Posted by Orville View Post
The AF rep was apparently unaware that the rules state that the first leg carrier's baggage rules apply. I talked to a supervisor and read her the rule and she agreed that AF baggage policy should have applied. A good learning experience for us, but not a pleasant one.

Just to comment separately on that, it is completely irrelevant, all your flights are marketed as AF and as such AF baggage policies apply to all checked luggage, and will usually be identical for the inbound and outbound flights (unless you're flying different cabin e.g.)
The DOT rule you quote here as well as IATA resolution 302 are only relevant in case of having different marketing carriers.
Relevant because the rep insisted I was not entitled to free check bags because I "chose" to fly on their Alitalia code share. The supervisor agreed with me and gave me credit for the charges. The fact that the rep didn't understand the rules meant that she was not amenable to giving me the credit. She insisted that flying on a different carrier meant that i was subject to their rules, not AF's. Also, I think you're wrong about the intent of IATA 302. It relates to "interline journeys" and refers to the "marketing carrier", not "marketing carriers". There is no reference to multiple marketing carriers. Definition of interline carrier:

"Interline is a relationship between airlines which allows one airline sells services to a customer that are provided by another airline. Airlines use interline to sell itineraries that they would otherwise not be able to serve alone." That suggests that the "marketing carrier" here is AF and that their baggage policies apply.

This flight is not operated by AF but by Air Malta.
Correct, but irrelevant.

------------------------
Thanks for your help. I've learned a lesson about baggage policies. I've probably flown on 50 or more international itineraries. I've encountered baggage charges like this while flying on discount carriers, but never on a major carrier. That's why I didn't look at the baggage policies in excruciating detail before traveling on this itinerary. In the future, I'll be more cautious.
Orville is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2020, 7:50 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
Posts: 4,425
Originally Posted by Orville
Relevant because the rep insisted I was not entitled to free check bags because I "chose" to fly on their Alitalia code share. The supervisor agreed with me and gave me credit for the charges. The fact that the rep didn't understand the rules meant that she was not amenable to giving me the credit. She insisted that flying on a different carrier meant that i was subject to their rules, not AF's. Also, I think you're wrong about the intent of IATA 302. It relates to "interline journeys" and refers to the "marketing carrier", not "marketing carriers". There is no reference to multiple marketing carriers. Definition of interline carrier:

"Interline is a relationship between airlines which allows one airline sells services to a customer that are provided by another airline. Airlines use interline to sell itineraries that they would otherwise not be able to serve alone." That suggests that the "marketing carrier" here is AF and that their baggage policies apply.

.
While I'm glad that quoting the DOT rules helped you getting back what you shouldn't have been charged in the first place it remains irrelevant as you seem to have been sold a "light-fare" ticket which included 0 checked-in luggage and your luggage allowance is based upon you being an STE.

Unless by some weird way AF sold you a ticket with different luggage allowance for the outbound and the inbound portion, e.g. a standard fare going to MLA but a light fare going back, but I very highly doubt that.
Ditto is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2020, 3:38 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by Ditto
While I'm glad that quoting the DOT rules helped you getting back what you shouldn't have been charged in the first place it remains irrelevant as you seem to have been sold a "light-fare" ticket which included 0 checked-in luggage and your luggage allowance is based upon you being an STE.

Unless by some weird way AF sold you a ticket with different luggage allowance for the outbound and the inbound portion, e.g. a standard fare going to MLA but a light fare going back, but I very highly doubt that.
I don't know what a "Light Fare" is, since it doesn't appear anywhere on my AF bookings. My bookings indicate "Economy". Do you have a reference which defines a light fare? Also, where can you find the fare basis for an AF flight?
Orville is offline  
Old Feb 12, 2020, 3:59 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: CPT,AMS
Posts: 4,425
Originally Posted by Orville
I don't know what a "Light Fare" is, since it doesn't appear anywhere on my AF bookings. My bookings indicate "Economy". Do you have a reference which defines a light fare? Also, where can you find the fare basis for an AF flight?
When you book the ticket on AF website it will usually show you the various options (if they are available, some flights may only show "Standard" as light fare isn't offered on them)



Once you chose the fare you like for the departing flight, your return flight will be 'locked' and not show the other fare.

You can also see the fare basis code during booking and later on while managing your booking, but there is no easy way to map it and know if it's a light or a standard fare.
If you still have the booking confirmation e-mail, it will list the rebooking/cancellation policy, and your e-ticket will list the baggage allowance, you could compare those with a new dummy booking to figure out which fare you were booked on.
Ditto is offline  
Old Jun 22, 2021, 1:49 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: LAX/ONT
Programs: AS 100K, Hilton Diamond, IHG Plat, Marriott G, Hertz PC, Avis PC
Posts: 518
Unrelated question, can a person check 4 bags free in the SkyTeam system?
simonsuo is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2021, 2:01 am
  #13  
Accor Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: RBA / TBS
Programs: AF Gold / A3 Gold / Accor Gold / Hilton Gold / TP Silver
Posts: 2,810
Originally Posted by simonsuo
Unrelated question, can a person check 4 bags free in the SkyTeam system?
You need to elaborate your question cause it doesnt mean anything ... there is no skyteam system
fifty_two is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2021, 3:27 am
  #14  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 569
Originally Posted by simonsuo
Unrelated question, can a person check 4 bags free in the SkyTeam system?
If it's unrelated, why post it in the same thread
FlyerTalker324193 is offline  
Old Jun 23, 2021, 10:56 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: LAX/ONT
Programs: AS 100K, Hilton Diamond, IHG Plat, Marriott G, Hertz PC, Avis PC
Posts: 518
Originally Posted by fifty_two
You need to elaborate your question cause it doesnt mean anything ... there is no skyteam system
Does any SkyTeam airline allow a passenger to check 4 bags free, considering all possible ticket types and elite status?
simonsuo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.