If luggage fees are wrong, who pays?

Question: I recently bought two one-way tickets from Madrid to Cancun, Mexico, through I found tickets that were within my budget and called the online travel agency to verify all the details, including the baggage fees.
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When revenue-hungry airlines play “chicken” with passengers

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Here’s a decision most of us will have to make the next time we fly: Should you splurge for a “premium” seat in economy class — an aisle or a window seat — or leave it to chance, and possibly end up in a middle seat?

It happened to Fred Thompson on a recent Delta Air Lines flight from New York to Detroit. “The Delta website would not let me choose a seat when I booked the ticket four weeks early,” he says. “The day before my flight, I still could not pick a seat. All the economy seats were taken and the only available seats were fee-based with prices ranging from $9 to $29.”
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Their passports sailed to the Bahamas, but they didn’t

Anne Newman’s holiday cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas on the Carnival Pride got off to the worst start possible when two members of her party — her brother and father — were left standing at the dock because of a paperwork problem.

No, they didn’t bring the wrong birth certificate. Instead, they had inadvertently packed their travel documents in their bags and checked them.

Newman wants to be compensated for their denied boarding, and she wants me to help her.
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Are Air Berlin’s luggage scales a “scam”?

Luggage fees are a quick and relatively easy way for an airline to make money, but the European discount airlines have turned it into an artform.

If your carry-on tips the scale a few grams over the limit, the price of your air transportation can routinely double, thanks to their punitive and arbitrary baggage surcharges.

Nicholas Dominick recently found himself on the wrong side of that scheme when he flew from Venice to Münster, Germany, via Berlin on Air Berlin. Knowing the airline’s strict luggage policies, he’d weighed his luggage and it added up to a total of 40 kilos.
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Do you still have receipts for that TSA-approved lock?

Like many air travelers who are wary of having their luggage pilfered, Bobby Caldwell took every step he could to protect his property on a recent flight from Albuquerque, N.M., to Chicago. He packed his belonging in sturdy suitcases and secured them with TSA-approved locks.

And it worked. Sorta.

None of his belongings were stolen. But a funny thing happened with the locks.
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Why won’t airlines cover stolen computers?

Here’s a question I get all the time: Why won’t an airline cover a lost or damaged computer in my checked luggage?

My answer is always the same: because!

Well, it’s been that way since the Wright Brothers flew a kite at Kitty Hawk. Every airline contract specifically says it doesn’t cover lost or stolen electronics, among other things.

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Hotel luggage theft: “He looked like a professional”

Athena Foley and her husband wish they’d never stayed at the Hotel Ändra. When they checked into the Seattle boutique hotel this summer, one of their bags was stolen after they surrendered it to the bellhop.

Foley lost $1,000 worth of items, including clothes, eyeglasses and medicine. She wants the property to compensate her for the loss. But today’s “Is this enough compensation?” case is not an open-and-shut case, as you’ll see in a second.
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What the #$&! is going on with airline baggage fees?

Check this out: The latest luggage fee numbers, as reported by the federal government, show that the major airlines are collecting less for our checked suitcases. They haven’t returned to the early 2007 levels, which were still pretty reasonable, but well off the highs reached in the second and third quarter of 2010.

What’s going on?
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How to protect your luggage from being pilfered

Philip Bramson’s iPod vanished from his checked luggage on a recent flight to Mexico, and recovering it seemed impossible.

“It was hidden in my luggage, so it could only have been seen through the X-ray or a pretty thorough search,” he says. “The only place this could have happened is during the luggage handling in JFK. There was not enough time in Mexico between when we landed and I was given my luggage.”

It’s an awful feeling when you open your suitcase after a long flight and notice that something’s missing. But it doesn’t have to happen to you.
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How the airlines handle the ‘mishandled’ luggage problem

Jaime Sigal’s suitcase felt a little light when he picked it up from the conveyor belt in Sao Paolo, Brazil, so he gave the heavy-duty ballistic nylon bag a careful once-over.

Sure enough, the zipper appeared to have been forced open. Sigal, who works for an export management company in Miami, made a beeline for the LAN Airlines counter. Three items were missing from his luggage: a blazer, a leather jacket and boots. He’d paid a total of $1,700 for the items last year.

Every day, the same scenario repeats itself in airports everywhere. Luggage is lost or pilfered, and airlines do their best — or not — to find or replace it.
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