Things With Wings

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  • Greed
    Posted by Andrew Compart 8:25 PM on Dec 31, 2009

    Let's say you are a Delta customer flew to Canada before Christmas Day, for the holidays. And let's say you are returning today, or sometime after New Year's. In the intervening days, thanks to the failed bombing attempt on that Amsterdam-Detroit flight, Canadian authorities have imposed a "temporary emergency measure" that forbids passengers traveling to the U.S. from taking any carry-on baggage on board. That's "any," as in "zero." The only exceptions are for personal items such as small purses, cameras, coats, laptops and canes.

    So for the return trip, instead of checking one bag, as you planned, you have to check two. Does Delta cut you a break? No, it does not.  Per the latest security advisory posted on its home page this morning, Delta will still charge you for every checked bag, including the one you planned to use as your carry on. here's the verbiage:

    Until further notice, the Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) has disallowed carry-on bags for those passengers originating in Canada and traveling to the United States. Passengers will still be allowed one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase, to carry onboard the aircraft. For details, please see the CATSA Web site.

    This measure supersedes Delta's carry-on baggage policy, and customers will be charged the applicable checked bag fees for any baggage checked during this time.

    Last Updated: Dec 31, 2009, 9:30am EST (-5 GMT)

    I know that's not a typo, because I checked with a Delta spokesman, who confirmed the policy this afternoon (I checked because, honestly, I was convinced it meant to say "will NOT be charged"). And that means the customer, who had expected to pay only $15 extra for checking one bag, will pay an additional $25 for checking two of them (or $30 if you did not pre-pay for the bag during online check-in).

    If you are the customer, how will you feel? Ticked off, is my guess. Really, Delta, is collecting this little bit of additional revenue worth ticking off your customers? Consider Air Canada, which, as of today, has this in its travel advisory:

    To accommodate customers travelling to the U.S., Air Canada is waiving excess baggage charges for checked baggage on a temporary basis for U.S.-bound customers travelling from Canada. These customers will be permitted to check one additional item of baggage within allowable weight and size limits at no additional charge until further notice. For example, regular economy passengers will be permitted up to three checked bags weighing 23 kilograms each.

    Or Alaska Airlines, which also is waiving the fee for a carry-on bag that someone now has to check in Canada. Or US Airways, which as of Dec. 26 and ongoing as of today, temporarily waived its first and second checked bag fee for all in-bound flights from foreign destinations. Or American, which says, for in-bound travel from Canada, it will not charge for bags that were originally intended for carry-on.

    Pop quiz: Which of these airlines will create customer goodwill and customer loyalty? And is that worth $15 or $25?

    Tags: tw99, Delta, fees, Canada

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