Monday, February 15, 2010

Dishonest Scales

Let this be a warning to read the fine print of an airline's baggage policy the next time you fly. Yesterday morning when I checked in at Tampa International Airport for my flight to Charlotte, an AirTran employee weighed my large suitcase and the scale read 54.5 pounds. I found it strange that my suitcase suddenly gained weight on my way to the airport. At the missionary house I stayed at, their scale had my suitcase at 50 pounds.

After putting on an extra jacket and my heavier pair of shoes plus moving other items into my carry-on bag, the AirTran employee measured my suitcase and told me it was “too big.” I was shocked that I suddenly had to pay a $49 “oversized bag” fee. That same suitcase had never incurred such charges on previous AirTran flights. I didn’t know a policy change regarding baggage dimensions went into effect last month. When I asked the AirTran employee to waive the fee, she refused and claimed the $49 would otherwise be taken out of her paycheck.

Fortunately, a friend who dropped me off at the airport felt led of the Lord to give me $41 beforehand. That helped offset most of this extra baggage charge. Still, I'm disgusted with airlines resorting to sneaky tactics like this to get more money out of their customers. It’s bad enough most of them now charge $15-25 for the mere privilege of checking a suitcase (normally I fly on Southwest Airlines).

Before flying out of Tampa, I emailed a complaint to AirTran pointing out the extra $49 could have been used to buy a smaller suitcase to meet their new luggage requirements. While online, I happened to read about another AirTran customer who noticed his 35-pound bag (which he weighed at home) had somehow increased to 40 pounds according to AirTran’s scale. Due to a missed connection, this man’s bag got delayed and was sent to him via FedEx two days later. The FedEx tag attached to his bag confirmed that its true weight was 35 pounds.

I will definitely be more prayerful about who I do business with in the future.

“How can I tolerate your merchants who use dishonest scales and weights?” - Micah 6:11

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