Airlines pass buck on bad fee on codeshare flight

  • By Christopher Elliott Syndicated Columnist
  • Friday, December 7, 2012 8:29pm
  • LifeTransportation

Question: I traveled to Europe on a codeshare flight between Delta Air Lines and KLM. Before I left the United States, I carefully checked the size and weight restrictions for my two bags on both the Delta and KLM websites, because I’m an artist and I needed to take rolls of paper with me. I made sure my bags complied.

The trip from Portland, Ore., to Copenhagen, Denmark, went off without a hitch; I paid $50 to check a second bag. However, on the flight from Toulouse, France, to Portland, Ore., I had to pay 200 euros for the second bag.

When the gate agent saw my second bag, she declared it “too long,” she never measured it. Although the flight was on KLM, the airport staff worked for Air France. There was no KLM or Delta presence that I could find in that airport.

When I landed in Portland, I immediately sought a Delta agent and had the bag measured. That agent put a note in the file that the bag in question was within their size limits.

I called Delta’s customer service line the next day, but instead of issuing the promised refund, that agent told me to write a letter to their office.

Since then, I’ve been bounced between Delta, KLM and Air France about my refund, ending with a denial from Air France. Can you help?

Deborah Bouchette, Hillsboro, Ore.

Answer: You shouldn’t have been charged 200 euros for your checked bag. That may have been the Air France policy, but you were flying on KLM, and as you say, its rules were different.

It’s too bad you didn’t take this trip before the new federal regulations went into effect that say the baggage rules of the first carrier apply to your entire flight.

A quick, polite email sent to the Transportation Department would have generated a speedy refund from Delta.

But you were trapped in a codesharing nightmare from which there seemed to be no escape.

You bought a ticket on Delta, but the flight was operated by KLM and the airport staff in Toulouse worked for Air France, another Delta codeshare partner. To make things even more complicated, Air France and KLM operate as separate airlines.

A difference between Air France’s policy and KLM’s tripped you up.

Delta punted to KLM, which in turn passed the buck to Air France.

I contacted Delta, which, unsurprisingly, referred the matter to Air France. After some more back-and-forth, the airline agreed to refund the 200 euros it erroneously charged.

Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the author of “Scammed.” Read his blog, www.elliott.org or email him at celliott@ngs.org.

&Copy; 2012 Christopher Elliott/ Tribune Media Services, Inc.

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Kamiak student Aidan Norris (center) drags Matthew Ninh into a scene as Mitchell Beard (left) reads his lines. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Joy, disappointment at Kamiak High’s ‘Spamalot’ auditions

More than 80 students try out for 45 roles in the outrageous Monty Python musical comedy.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

What’s new for 2018 for travelers in Scandinavia

Sweden, Norway and Finland have embarked on many urban, cultural and transit projects.

Kia Rio subcompact takes a classy step up in 2018

A new design, roomier cabin, and better fuel economy are among the improvements on the 2018 Kia Rio.

Overcome your fear of death, in a book title at least

Three novels about death worth reading at Everett Public Library.

Dolores O’Riordan was lead singer of Irish band The Cranberries

The police force said the death was being treated as “unexplained.”

‘Trump saying something racist isn’t exactly news anymore:’ ‘SNL’

The week’s news was dominated by reports that Trump disparaged Haiti, El Salvador and all of Africa.

Bald eagle no longer listed as ‘sensitive species’ in the state

A recent study found that eagle numbers are strong throughout Washington.

Most Read