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COMPLAINT: Alaska Airlines practices extortion w/ baggage in Mexico!
 
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  #1  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 1:23 AM
LA Ram LA Ram is offline
 
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First, I HIGHLY recommend that you reading this fly ANY other airline besides Alaska Airlines!

I recently traveled to Club Med in Ixtapa, Mexico w/ my wife & 2 young children (I highly recommend this Club Med, btw!). Upon returning, we stood in line for over an hour to have our baggage checked. When we finally got to the front, they weighed each of our many bags, & then brought them all behind their counter. So far, everything's normal. THEN...they said that one of our bags was over the 50lb limit & they'll have to charge me for it. I asked them to hand our bags back to me & I'll reshuffle some items into our other bags so all of them will weigh under 50lbs. (We've done this w/ other airlines w/ no trouble at all.) Here's where the trouble begins: They said if they hand the bags back to me, I'd have to wait in the back of the line (at this point over 1.5 hours long - this also could've cost us the flight!) & start all over. I asked them why they're practicing extortion - why are they doing this when other airlines simply allow us to reshuffle things as I suggested. They said "Sorry, airline policy". I've since talked to their "customer care" department several times over several months, to no avail.

They put on a friendly face, but behind this avuncular figure is an evil corporation willing to do ANYTHING to rip off their customers!

This is a warning. I have pledged NEVER to fly Alaska Airlines & I am writing this to warn you, the reader, not to fly them either!

Never fly Alaska Airlines!
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  #2  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 8:35 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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This type of practice is absolutely disgraceful and what happens when an industry is unregulated. This is abuse of their power. There is no other issue here than abuse... the overall weight of the bags is the same.. therefore the airline is transporting exactly the same weight. This is extorting money.. there is no additional cost to the airline. OUTRAGEOUS
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  #3  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 8:48 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Agreed. This is a "because we can" attitude. I believe it might fall on individuals rather than the "evil corporation" but the company is responsible for it's employees and should address it. Vote with your feet and use another carrier.
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  #4  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 5:02 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Sad situation.

Would it have been right to the other passengers waiting in line, for you to get your bags back, reshuffle them, and (this seems to be what you wanted) step back in line in front of someone else? I.e., cutting the line?

You didn't take into account that your bag was heavier now than when you arrived, because you probably bought some items while on vacation, and didn't allow for the extra weight. Bathroom scales can be pretty handy. Erring on the side of caution would have helped if you would have weighed your bags before leaving for the airport.

In this case, I'm sympathizing with the other people still waiting in line.
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  #5  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 7:48 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
Would it have been right to the other passengers waiting in line, for you to get your bags back, reshuffle them, and (this seems to be what you wanted) step back in line in front of someone else? I.e., cutting the line?

In this case, I'm sympathizing with the other people still waiting in line.
Agreed. When you present yourself for check in at the counter then you should be ready to go. You shouldn't be given any additional time because you packed incorrectly. If you need additional time then accept the consequences and go back to the end of the line. If you don't want to go to the back of the line then pay the $50 for the overweight bag.

I have no sympathy whatsoever for your situation and to call Alaska Airlines evil extortionists is libelous. They gave you the option of "re-shuffling" the contents of your bag but just not at the expense of others waiting in line.
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  #6  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:07 PM
Leatherboy2006 Leatherboy2006 is offline
 
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I have had to reshuffle stuff before also, they had me step off to the side do it, check in other people while I did it and then when I was reshuffled check my bag. never have been asked to go to back of line...sounds like the agent was nasty and in a bad mood
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  #7  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:09 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Those last two posts are utterly disingenuous... the "go to the back of the line" policy had nothing to do with the time taken.. how long would it have taken to take the extra money, process the credit card, etc... what about the poor people in the line? I doubt that reshuffling the contents, especially if the margin was small would take any longer than processing a charge and payment.

The purpose of the "go to the back of the line" policy was to create a situation in which the passenger is faced with missing their flight or paying up. That is just extortion.

You guys will defend anything.
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  #8  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:17 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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I've personally been in ine to check in and seen a "reshuffling" and the subsequent re-weighing take a few attempts and several minutes. No, Jim, I'm gonna stick to my guns on this one. It's a passenger's responsibility to have the bag in a state of preparedness to be checked-in when they reach the counter agent. If it's overweight then they have two options. Step away from the counter, get your bag in order (which should have been done already) and get back in line at the end OR pay up! This coddling that people expect because they are too pressed for time to weigh the bag themselves is ridiculous. They packed a bag that was too heavy. Too bad. Pay or go to the end of the line. Next, please.
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  #9  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:22 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Presumably, they should carry around scales while they are at it.. but it doesn't surprise you have stuck to your guns Phx, I expect nothing less!.. However, if the issue is holding up the line.. how is it that the extra time taken to impose the charge and collect payment doesn't seem to bother them? Why don't they send the customer to the back of the line to collect money?
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  #10  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:28 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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People have scales in their bathrooms at home don't they? Although not dead-on accurate they can be used to at least estimate. Come on Jim, you're starting to get ridiculous in your defense of these idiots who can't even tell by the "heft" of the bag that it might be a bit overweight. If they don't care enough to check before they leave the house then why should they care when asked to fork over $50 when it's over the limit?

As for your "time to process the payment" argument it takes 30 seconds to swipe a credit card. It may actually take more time if the idiots continue to argue about the fee and don't give the agent the credit card to swipe but that's the passenger's fault not the agent. Once the card is in hand it's a simple process.
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  #11  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:35 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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The nature of travel means that at least 50% of the passengers will not be at home Phx... unless they are flying in circles. Most hotels do not have bathroom scales and I tend not to carry mine around with me.

Arguing with the customer as you try to extort more money out of them is certainly time-consuming. Considerably less time consuming would be to say..

I am sorry, but one of your bags is 4lb overweight. This one is 10lb below weight. Can you just step to the side and switch the contents from one bag to the other, while I serve the next customer. Then you can give them back to me and be on your way

OR

Sir, one bag is a little overweight, but the aggregate is within the limit. I will let this one go through, but can you try to be sure that the bags are within the limits, as it is airline policy to charge for each overweight bag. Have a nice flight.


BOTH would take less time... be less HASSLE and would considerably ease the burden of the customer whilst inconveniencing no-one. Is that really too hard? It happened in the US for decades... what has happened to change things? Could it be the deregulation, fortress hubs and abuse of their local monopolies has emboldened airlines to the point where they no longer give a [email protected]*k about their customers, because they know they have no choice?
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  #12  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:37 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
The nature of travel means that at least 50% of the passengers will not be at home Phx... unless they are flying in circles. Most hotels do not have bathroom scales and I tend not to carry mine around with me.
Every hotel I've been to has a scale in the fitness center.

Ha got ya there! Next?
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  #13  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:40 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Not everyone is a rich as you Phx, not sure RedRoofInns have a "fitness centre".. unless you count running away from the muggers.
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  #14  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:45 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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The OP was at Club Med in Ixtapa. Not exactly a Red Roof Inn.

Next ridiculous argument, Jim? I'm rather liking this.
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  #15  
Old Dec 29, 2009, 11:48 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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What has that got to do with my argument? I am not disputing some people could potentially have access to a scale.. but by no means all. Even so, I am not sure how many "fitness centres" in posh hotels would welcome all their customers barging into the training room trailing their bags to be weighed. Wouldn't be long before there was a laminated "Polite Notice" just above the scales...

Last edited by jimworcs; Dec 29, 2009 at 11:51 PM.
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  #16  
Old Dec 30, 2009, 5:32 AM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Just found out, FWIW, all Alaska stations in Mexico are contract workers. Not exactly "North of Expectations" quality people.
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  #17  
Old Dec 30, 2009, 9:23 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Many airline staff in the US are also contract workers and very "south of expectations". Not sure there is much difference....
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  #18  
Old Dec 30, 2009, 7:43 PM
LA Ram LA Ram is offline
 
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Response to leatherboy2006
You get it, thank you.

Alaska Airlines practices Machiavellian tactics.

Response to jimworcs:
You are correct in your second response - they took more time than necessary. I “discussed” this issue w/ the ticket agent for a good 5 minutes & then his manager for at least the equivalent. No other passengers were being assisted by these ticket agents during this time. In less than FOUR minutes, I could’ve easily reorganized all bags to qualification. BECAUSE ALASKA AIRLINES PRACTICED EXTORTION, they took more time than necessary, inconvenienced more customers, created a disgruntled passenger AND created bad publicity. Again you were right on target.

Alaska Airlines is evil.

Response to The Judge:
I believe the actions I described are company policy & not the act of one individual - especially after reading other similar complaints on this very board! I will definitely “vote”…w/ my pocketbook and of course, encourage others to do the same.

Never fly Alaska Airlines.

Response to Gromit801:
Your last response borders on racism. Although I’m new to this board, if I find a “report-a-distasteful-post” button, I shall alert the authorities. If you are allowed to continue messaging on this board, please discontinue such offensive posts.


Alaska Airlines is corrupt.

Response to all other respondents at this point in time:
Your positions are so blatantly biased, no response is warranted.

Alaska Airlines practices extortion.
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  #19  
Old Dec 30, 2009, 11:20 PM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
 
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LA Ram wrote...

Response to Gromit801:
Your last response borders on racism.


Gromit801 wrote...

Not exactly "North of Expectations" quality people.

Regular posters on this board can vouch for the fact that Gromit and I agree on almost NOTHING! However, in this case, it appears he was trying to do a sarcastic parody on a line from an Alaska Air advertising campaign which uses the phrase: North of Expected

see:
http://www.eturbonews.com/8640/alask...s-needle-north

Accordingly I don't think there was even a remote intention to demean anyone of Hispanic/Mexican ethnicity.
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  #20  
Old Dec 30, 2009, 11:34 PM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
Just found out, FWIW, all Alaska stations in Mexico are contract workers. Not exactly "North of Expectations" quality people.
Originally Posted by LA Ram View Post

Response to Gromit801:
Your last response borders on racism. Although I’m new to this board, if I find a “report-a-distasteful-post” button, I shall alert the authorities. If you are allowed to continue messaging on this board, please discontinue such offensive posts.


Originally Posted by Butch Cassidy Slept Here View Post
LA Ram wrote...

Response to Gromit801:
Your last response borders on racism.


Gromit801 wrote...

Not exactly "North of Expectations" quality people.

Regular posters on this board can vouch for the fact that Gromit and I agree on almost NOTHING! However, in this case, it appears he was trying to do a sarcastic parody on a line from an Alaska Air advertising campaign which uses the phrase: North of Expected

see:
http://www.eturbonews.com/8640/alask...s-needle-north

Accordingly I don't think there was even a remote intention to demean anyone of Hispanic/Mexican ethnicity.
That's how I read it too. I was really scratching my head after that post. Racism? What? Where?

Given the OP's penchant for hyperbole, however, I can see how he'd see a "racist" remark where none existed.
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  #21  
Old Dec 31, 2009, 12:06 AM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Not going to worry about Ram. If he'd had a similar problem at any other Alaska station that uses contract employees, would it still be racism? Of course not, and it isn't racism in this case. His problem was at a Mexican station. Maybe he's being the racist?

He's acting like a spoiled brat, throwing a tantrum like a 4 year old in the store aisle. Oh wait, can I be accused of age discrimination now?
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  #22  
Old Dec 31, 2009, 1:50 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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I too doubt that racism was present in Gromit's posting, although we tend to disagree about most stuff on here.

However, I am not altogether sure that there is necessarily poorer service standards from contract people compared to non-contract people. If you have ever had any dealings with arrogant and hostile Delta employees you would be hard pressed to find worse service from a contract employee.
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  #23  
Old Dec 31, 2009, 3:35 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
If you have ever had any dealings with arrogant and hostile Delta employees you would be hard pressed to find worse service from a contract employee.
Stay on topic please......Delta doesn't need spillover from AS contract station complaints, they do just fine causing their own.
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  #24  
Old Dec 31, 2009, 4:21 AM
LA Ram LA Ram is offline
 
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I just just submitted the following letter to http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/es.cfm

If anyone (coming from an unbiased perspective) has any other suggestions on where to file complaints, I'd very much appreciate it. I don't plan on stopping until the world knows of
the evil that is Alaska Airlines.


December 30, 2009

Department of Transportation
Office of Aviation Enforcement & Proceedings
400 Seventh St. SW #4107
Washington, DC 20590

RE: Alaska Airlines practices extortion with baggage in Mexico.

First, I appreciate this opportunity to voice my concern. I do hope some correction comes from this.

I traveled to Ixtapa, Mexico with my wife & 2 young children not too long ago. I've been communicating with Alaska Airlines regularly to no avail. They have made me jump through hurdle after hurdle & hoop after hoop while getting nowhere.

Upon returning from Mexico, we stood in line at the Zihuatanejo airport for over an hour to have our baggage checked. When we finally got to the front, they weighed each of our many bags, & then brought them all behind their counter. Up to this point, everything was normal. THEN...they said that one of our bags was over the 50lb limit & they'll have to charge me for it. I asked them to hand our bags back to me & I'll reshuffle some items into our other bags so all of them will weigh under 50lbs. (We've done this with other airlines with no hassle at all.) Here's where the trouble begins: They said if they hand the bags back to me, I'd have to wait in the back of the line (at this point over 1.5 hours long, which could've cost us the flight!) & start all over. I asked them why they're practicing extortion - why are they doing this when other airlines simply allow us to reshuffle things as I suggested. They said "Sorry, airline policy".

As I mentioned, I've written letters to their CEO, spoken several times to their (less than friendly) "customer care" department, written more letters upon their request. They did offer me a discount off the next Alaska Airlines ticket, but given this horrible experience, I told them several times, no thanks! Nothing will do short of crediting my account for the initial charge plus interest.

The last time I spoke to them, they very rudely told me "this case is closed" - again, even though I've been speaking to them on a regular basis since.

Alaska Airlines puts on a friendly face, but behind this avuncular logo figure is an evil corporation willing to do anything to rip off their customers!

I implore you to look into this as soon as humanly possible. Even though this took place South of the border, it is still an American airline & I urge you to A) have them refund my money obtained via their extortion tactic & B) prevent them from practicing extortion the way I described with anyone else any further.

The American passenger will appreciate all you can do to thwart this.

Thank you very much.
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  #25  
Old Dec 31, 2009, 4:29 AM
PHXFlyer PHXFlyer is offline
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So, new ionformation comes to light:

Originally Posted by LA Ram View Post
As I mentioned, I've written letters to their CEO, spoken several times to their (less than friendly) "customer care" department, written more letters upon their request. They did offer me a discount off the next Alaska Airlines ticket, but given this horrible experience, I told them several times, no thanks! Nothing will do short of crediting my account for the initial charge plus interest.

The last time I spoke to them, they very rudely told me "this case is closed" - again, even though I've been speaking to them on a regular basis since.
You were offered compensation AND REFUSED. The case is indeed closed! And you felt it appropriate to write the US Government over an overweight bag fee? You have never disputed the fact that the bag was indeed overweight.

I agree with Gromit801. Stop your tantrum already. Time out!
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