Monday, June 30, 2008

Lufthansa's (new?) luggage policy

Anyone remember the days when you could check in two 70 lbs bags on international journeys? Even then I had trouble keeping my bags under the weight limit.

I've adjusted to the two 50 lbs bag limit with some trouble - I usually have to take some heavier books out and repack them in my carry on.

Today though I was shocked when our friend Weina was told she'd have to pay 600 Euro extra if she wanted to check in her luggage as it was (her route was Frankfurt - Beijing). Excuse me?! She had two moderately heavy bags but nothing ridiculous (one was close to 50 lbs, the other less). But Lufthansa has a policy now that the combined weight of your two bags can only be 30 kilos - which is 66 lbs!! And every kilo (2.2 lbs) you go over costs 30 Euro!! At least she was able to leave one bag with us - imagine if she got to the airport and had no choice but to pay up. They might as well gouge her eyes out.

Sadly, this too will likely become the norm. You can pay $1000 for yourself to fly and another $1000 for your bags to come with you. And who can afford that?

15 comments:

Silverheron said...

Luckily I do not travel very much but when I do my books are the largest part of my luggage. Call it my mental security blanket. Many people use the electronic readers now but somehow the smell of paper and ink just does something to me. I guess we will just have to plan ahead on our trips and send our books ahead media mail or whatever you have where you live.

J. Kaye Oldner said...

Since you travel, why not go with an eReader or a Kindle?

Amy said...

WOW! That is really sad. I miss the days of two really heavy bags. When you're moving country or something, it all makes it a bit difficult, doesn't it?

Linda J said...

Totally ridiculous! I wonder what the reasoning is? Heavier bags makes heavier airplanes meaning they'll use more of that expensive gas? Or, they just want to continue to gouge the average person?

Marie said...

It's ridiculous. I'm probably going to start FedExing my luggage instead if this trend continues. Probably cheaper, and it won't get lost!

Steve said...

Oh, the good ol'days! Lenore, it's getting bad here too. Every carrier is starting to charge for ANY checked bag. And that limit is pretty low, even for a business traveler! I hate the airline industry.

Lenore said...

silverheron + j.kaye - these are not the books I read on my trips but that I acquire on my trips!

amy - that's exactly what my friend was doing and now she's missing some of her essentials

linda - I can understand the pressure airlines are under with the gas being as expensive as it is - but such a luggage policy is simply highway (airway?) robbery!

marie - exactly! i wonder if the airlines are prepared to refund their fees if they lose your luggage.

steve - I've seen the $15 fee for the first bag and the $25 fee for the second bag, and though it galls me, at least it is still affordable and you still get 50 lbs a bag. plus elite fliers don't have to pay so that's a small consolation to me.

bkclubcare said...

I love to travel light. but this is sad!

My Journey Through Reading... said...

Traveling has become a nightmare. I travel every week for business and it honestly is a nightmare. The waiting, delays, lost luggage, and now the extra fees for bags. I feel they should reward travelers for checking bags instead of carrying on the over-sized suitcases that most passengers can't even lift. It really irks me when I get whacked by a suitcase. Sorry, this is a very sore subject with me lately. I am seriously considering a Kindle but I too love the smell and feel of a new book.

The Tome Traveller said...

Lenore, I am a flight attendant so I can totally sympathize. Its getting to be a nightmare out there! It is the gas prices driving all of it, unfortunately.

I prefer to carry my stuff on with me, but most people do not pack as lightly as I do. I know what you mean, I buy books everywhere I go. I usually go try to ship them back ahead of me, most countries have a cheap way of sending reading matter (England and the US both have M-Bag, it's very reasonable). I always take a couple of paperbacks that I can leave where I finish them, that way I make room to replace them with something else. Rather than take travel guides I photocopy the pages that I know I'll want and take those, much lighter.

Michelle said...

Hi Lenore,

I understand your upset (and your friend's), but what you describe is no new policy. The 2 x 50 lbs. you mentioned applies to and from North America ("piece concept"). On all other routes checked luggage is restricted to total weight 20/30/40 kilograms for Economy/Business/First ("weight concept") rather than by number of pieces plus weight.

Even having worked for Lufthansa for 11 years, I do not understand the logic in this; however I do know that all IATA carriers observe these concepts as described.

You and your readers are right - the current environment has made formerly enjoyable travel much more stressful.

Kind regards,
Michelle
Lufthansa USA

Lenore said...

I wasn't sure if this was a new policy or not, but I still think it stinks. Why charge 30 Euro per extra kilo? That is what seems so over the top.

SheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Last summer we were overweight one suitcase by 2 pounds, and under the limit in the other suitcase by 8 pounds.

I wanted to move some things from one to the other, but my husband just wanted to round up the kids and get to the boarding gate (yes, we travelled for a week with 6 people in just 2 suitcases!)

He tossed the credit card on the counter and charged the ("only" at that time) $25 fee. I'm still irritated that he would let me switch a move a few items!

baznolan said...

Just after ringing Lufthansa to enquire about oversized baggage. I thought the guide on their website must have been a typo or something. I'm travelling from Dublin to Tokyo economy class. I'm bringing quite a large suitcase as I'm going to live there for a year so it works out about 80 kilograms. After the 20k allowance, that's 60k at €30 per k. So that's €1800 for my suitcase. Had to google it to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. That's how I found this blog. Insanity is not the word.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest: there is no reason for these new policies. Airlines are just trying to make profit from everything. And there are no excuses. What gets on my nerves is that they don't have the guts to be honest with their customers: instead of promoting fake fares (fake because you then have to add money for luggage at least, if you're lucky) they should increase the cost of tickets. Oh no, they would lose customers...