To get stung with a charge for excess baggage is something that may cause irritation and problems for many people. That’s the situation Dr Richard Jakeman and his wife faced when flying with Qantas to Sydney in 2010.
When arriving at Heathrow Airport, the couple discovered that the flight check-in was operated by British Airways. They wanted to check in three bags, but were told that the check-in baggage allowance was limited to just one piece of baggage each. Confident that Qantas’ terms and conditions had no limit on the number of bags, just the weight, Richard complained to the BA check-in staff.
However, British Airways was adamant there was a limit so Richard had no option but to pay a £40 surcharge. No excess baggage charge was made on the return flight.
When the couple returned home, Richard checked Qantas’ terms and conditions again and they clearly indicated the weight allowance. However, no mention was made of the number of cases that could be checked in. Richard complained to Qantas.
Although he could issue proceedings in the small claims court, he first needed to send a formal pre-action letter, giving the company a time limit within which to respond. Qantas failed to respond within the time given and Richard issued proceedings against Qantas in a small claims court.
In the end of the saga, the airline subsequently wrote to the court stating that it had misunderstood the issue and agreed that the luggage was in fact within their weight allowance. It reimbursed Richard the excess baggage charge and his court costs of £25.