Airline Baggage Fees Not So Magical, Nor So Express

30 May

I’m one of those middle-of-the-road business travelers. I fly often enough that I do have elite status on one airline, but no single airline reliably has the best fares, so I bounce around to other carriers as well. And the more the airlines squeeze every penny out of their passengers, the more I notice the difference between flying the airline where I have elite status (preferred seating, premier check-in line, luggage check-in fees waived), and flying anybody else (helloooo steerage! goodbye free snacks!).

The Orlando Sentinel this week has a piece about how the new fees for checking additional (or any) bags are mucking with Disney’s Magical Express service, which was never designed to handle such things.

Disney offers Magical Express for free to its hotel guests, using the service as way to keep those guests on company property longer by eliminating the need for visitors to rent a car and sparing them from long airport check-in lines at the end of their vacation. But because it doesn’t charge for the shuttle or the baggage service, Disney World does not have an obvious way to collect the new baggage-check fees — as much as $25 a person — from guests who want to check two bags through Magical Express on the way home.

The changes have already caused some confusion at Disney hotels. Disney says it has continued to allow departing guests to check two pieces of luggage at their hotels, but some employees when questioned this week said their understanding was that people flying home on an airline with a second-bag fee have to check that second bag by themselves at the airport.

So, um, yeah . . . I don’t blame Disney for this, but I totally understand the confusion on the Guests part. “So, I can check one bag here at my resort, but have to take the other to the check-in counter myself? What then is the convenience of checking any bags at the resort?”

Of course one of many unfortunate things about all these new fees is that those who are likeliest to be keeping track the most carefully (road warriors), are probably also those who will be exempt from many of the fees (because they have elite status on multiple airlines).

And hey, while I’m ranting on travel, I just gotta say I’m glad it looks like the American Airlines skycaps at Logan Airport might finally get a fair deal. I know the airlines are hurting, and I hope they can find ways to survive without putting (more of) the squeeze on their front-line workers. I am sure that being a skycap is a back-breaking, often thankless job, and I’m glad to know that patrons can once again show their appreciation with a couple bucks.

One Response to “Airline Baggage Fees Not So Magical, Nor So Express”

  1. Debbie August 27, 2009 at 12:27 am #

    American Airline Baggage handlers!!!!!! I checked my suitcase curbside and by a huge mistake my fine jewelry worth approx. $20,000. was packed inside. When I arrived home my suit case was ransacked and the cosmetic bag with 3 pairs of diamond earring, a 9.18 ct diamond bracelet, a diamond pendant and a lot of other jewelry was gone.
    The police asked if I was wearing any other jewelry to tip off the baggage handler that there may be more. I remember that the guy had his blackberry phone on the desk. I suspect that he took a photo of my bag and sent it to his accomplices to search it for more. To add insult to injury I was charged to check my bag and then I tipped him well.
    American Airlines takes no responsibility for their baggage handlers. We as passengers are searched going into the airport why , I think it is time for the baggage handlers to be searched going out with the passengers personal belongings. I have heard so much from other people that this has happened to them but they do not report it because it is a pair of new tennis shoes or homemade cookies that have had bites taken out of them. A watch, a bracelet. A women had a $2000.00 diamond ring taken in Jan. from luggage at American Airlines, Logan well they really scored on my bag. It is time to put an end to this practice. American Airlines pay attention and protect the consumers from the thieves that work for you.,

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