Austrian Airlines excess baggage charges

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
10 replies 2.1K views
maa299maa299 Forumite
140 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Praise, Vent & Warnings
A lot of time has passed since this incident in July 2005 and I gave up on it a while ago, but it might be useful to put this down in writing...

My brother made the incredibly foolish mistake of taking 84kg (yes, 84kg!) of luggage with him in total when he was taking Austrian Airlines' flights to Mediterranean with transit in Vienna and flying out of Heathrow. That was over a year ago.

Well, although he arrived early enough, he ended up being charged for 40kg, but how much??? Twelve pounds a kilo(!), so he had to pay £480 on the spot!! Bearing in mind that the ticket was one-way and had only cost him £170 all in!!

Of course he was an idiot - besides taking far too much, he could have just stepped out and given me the luggage to keep (I was waiting outside), or he could have used a shipping company ("Excess Baggage" has a counter in the same terminal and would have saved him 200 quid!). Never mind all that...

I took the matter up on his behalf and complained to Austrian Airlines by email, saying that they could/should have advised him of the independent shipping option with a company other than their own, and also that the £12/kg excess was pretty steep. I was declined politely on both accounts (what I had asked for was a proportionate reimbursement to my bro).

I then turned to the AUC (Air Transport Users' Council) in London, who I wrote to, but they said that excess baggage was not a priority for them and also that the shipping business was something my bro just should have been aware of. They advised me to contact IATA about the £12/kg rate though.

IATA were no use either; the London office forwarded my letter to the Montreal head office, and when I called them to follow up, the guy said he could send me an acknowledgement letter for me to use as a supporting document when writing to my "better business representative" in my local area here in the UK.

At that point, I gave up and called my bro an idiot again :rotfl: I wasn't going to go to the OFT about this :rotfl:

What do you think? Was there any more I could have done?


  • fudgeukrainefudgeukraine Forumite
    142 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Nothing really, T & C clear as crystal on these situations, just tell your bro not to take 84 kilos' again!
  • pinpin Forumite
    4.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Why should Austrian advise your bro about other options? Did they have a legal requirement to?
    "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" - Mahatma Gandhi
  • Elljay_2Elljay_2 Forumite
    606 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    It's standard practice for airlines to charge 1% of the one way fare to the final destination. (Not neccassarily how much your brother paid for the ticket). As posted before, it is not up to the airline to offer cheaper alternatives....Siansbury's don't tell you Asda's price etc...Having said that, you'd hope that the kind chek in staff member would have gently pointed it out.
    Incidently, if the flight had been very busy and very heavy, excess baggage is the first thing to be left behind. That would have been an even bigger bummer....your bro paying all that money and it not arriving til later!!!!
  • maa299maa299 Forumite
    140 Posts
    Thanks for that - good to put my mind at rest I suppose.

    About the "standard", it should be 1-1.5% per kg (see AUC comment on this). At the charged rate of £12/kg, the one-way fare would have had to be between £800 - £1200...that's more than the price of a fully-flexible first class return! That's what I felt was unfair, but IATA were no help...

    Thanks again anyway!
  • hjb123hjb123 Forumite
    32K Posts
    How come he took that much anyway? Does he not have a wmoan to keep him in line - as the saying goes - 'behind every man there is a good woman'!
    Weight Loss - 102lb
  • Where was he flying too? £12KG does not sound excessive to me. I think airlines charge between 1-3% of the highest o/w economy fare. Depending where he was going the highest o/w could have been several hundreds of pounds. Like you say, he's an idiot! At least it wasn't you!
    And if, you know, your history...
  • maa299maa299 Forumite
    140 Posts
    Hehe...he was going to Cairo, connecting in Vienna.

    End of his Uni days, used a shipping company for some stuff, but he only packed his bags on the eve of flying and discovered that he had way too much. He thought the old "I'm a student, please be lenient" would get him by!

    I was driving him there...told him he wouldn't get past...but stubbornness prevails...

    What twisted the knife in his wound was that the 500 quid or so was pretty much what he'd saved up from working at the Uni sports centre for a couple of months! Down the drain!
  • Brotherley love. Keep on laughing, I like it!
    And if, you know, your history...
  • The one way fare is £859, so I guess there you have it - probably 1.5%
    And if, you know, your history...
  • maa299maa299 Forumite
    140 Posts
    Thanks DD...£859 puts things into perspective. Since that time he doesn't want to come back to the UK for fear of spiralling into debt with these "hidden" charges everywhere!!
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