Baggage Charge Inconsistency

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Nov 6, 2019
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#1
On October 11, 2019, my wife and I took American Airlines flights 651 and 4522 from San Francisco, CA to Manchester NH via Philadelphia PA and wanted to do carry on baggage. We were told by the customer service representative at the ticket counter in San Francisco, that because the flight was full, we probably would not be able to carry on our bags and that we would be charged $60.00 at the gate, or we could check the bags with her at the same charge. We checked our bags at the ticket counter and when we got to the gate, they announced that all carry on bags for our boarding group would have to be checked, but would be complimentary to final destinations.

Upon our return home, I called American Airlines Customer Service and the representative I spoke to said that what I was told at the ticket counter in San Francisco was not company policy and that I should have been advised that if we could not carry on our bags at the gate that they would have been shipped complimentary to our final destination. Since our bags were within the carry on criteria, I would have chosen to take my bags to the gate to determine if I could get them aboard the plane and if not have them checked complimentary. The representative told me to file an e-mail complaint to Customer Relations, which I did and I received a generic e-mail response, from customer service representative Mr. Derek Rick, that basically said that they had followed policy and nothing would be done. I then wrote to American Airlines Chairman and CEO, Mr. Doug Parker and he turned my letter back to Mr. Rick, who sent me another e-mail stating that they would not be doing anything further.

I feel that we should be refunded the $60.00 we paid for the misinformation and not be given a voucher. One frustrated American Airlines ex customer.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Did you buy basic economy tickets? Were your bags small enough to fit in the bin at the gate that shows the carry on size?

Unfortunately if you wrote to the CEO and he said no- there isn’t much we can do. Once the complaint gets that high- no one under the CEO can go against him. Did you start at Customer Service using our company contacts and then start with Sean Bentel and move up one executive at a time?
 
Nov 6, 2019
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#3
The customer service representative at the ticket counter knew we had basic economy tickets, but did not tell us that if they could not accommodate our bags at the gate that they would have to check our bags at no charge to their final destination. The bags were small enough to fit in the bin at the gate.

Once I received a negative generic e-mail response to my complaint from the customer service representative, I wrote to the CEO.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
Unfortunately, we advise never to go right to the CEO. We tell you to start at Customer Service and go up the executive chain one by one until you get to the CEO, and this is exactly why. You have a good chance of a lower executive fixing an issue. Once you go to the CEO and he says no- no one under him is going to go against him and change the decision.

I think you are going to have to chalk it up as a lesson learned. If you had regular economy seats, the checked bags would have been free. The rep at check in knew with Basic Economy you were going to be in the very last boarding group and there wouldn’t be room in the plane for your carry on.
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#5
"We were told by the customer service representative at the ticket counter in San Francisco, that because the flight was full, we probably would not be able to carry on our bags and that we would be charged $60.00 at the gate, or we could check the bags with her at the same charge."

I'm wondering why you chose to go ahead and check them there at the counter for a "probably" when the price would have been the same at the gate, and there was still the possibility of getting them on board?
 
Likes: Patina
May 1, 2018
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#6
One frustrated American Airlines ex customer.
Did you include any language similar to the above in your communications with AA? When you tell them they're losing you as a customer, you eliminate any reason they had to provide a courtesy refund.

I would chalk this one up to a life lesson. Don't escalate to the CEO first, and don't refer to yourself as an"ex customer" in your request for assistance.
 
Likes: Patina
May 28, 2019
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#7
This seems very strange. It’s never the case (in my experience, anyhow) that you will ever be charged to check a bag if you’re forced to check it for lack of overhead bin space. Are you certain it wasn’t due to having a ticket where carryon bags weren’t allowed?
 
Likes: Patina

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
This seems very strange. It’s never the case (in my experience, anyhow) that you will ever be charged to check a bag if you’re forced to check it for lack of overhead bin space. Are you certain it wasn’t due to having a ticket where carryon bags weren’t allowed?
AA now does allow one carry on. $30 pp is the charge for a Basic Economy ticket to check a bag. So the OP was charged for checking the bag. And because they were basic economy, they would be last boarding and there most likely wouldn’t have been enough room for their carry ons.

OP apparently didn’t know that they could have just said no thanks and taken the bags through. Had they bought regular economy tickets they wouldn’t have had to pay at all for checking the bags.
 
May 30, 2019
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#9
OP apparently didn’t know that they could have just said no thanks and taken the bags through. Had they bought regular economy tickets they wouldn’t have had to pay at all for checking the bags.
If OP purchased regular economy tickets on a domestic flight, then they would have had to pay $30 for checking a bag. But the main points remain -- AA does allow 1 overhead-bin size carry-on for all domestic flight passengers; OP could have taken the carry-on through Security and gate-checked for free; OP appealed up to CEO for bag-check refund and was denied.
 
Likes: R.L.