Most frustrating airline rules

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  • Cedric_Statherby

    I must confess that when the issue is an externally imposed rule – ie something the airlines or airports have no discretion over such as liquids through security – I do understand why they do not allow their customer-facing staff any latitude at all. The way of the world these days is that senior executives and board members of public companies are deemed to be personally liable for any breach of these sorts of rules and much the easiest way to avoid being embarrassed by the well-meaning acts of an underling is to impose a “no discretions, no exceptions, period” rule.

    The challenge then comes when it is their own rules that the customer-facing staff are applying – for example access to lounges, allowing people on earlier flights etc. Here the balance is more nuanced between good customer relations and an orderly business, and one might have thought that allowing the staff on the spot a bit of room to use their judgement would be a positive all round. I queried this once with a lounge admissions clerk and he explained – in so many words – that he had no discretion on anything at all.

    It makes sense of a sort, as having laid down the principle that for some decisions, front-line staff have no wriggle room whatsoever, it is easier all round for management and indeed their staff to maintain that approach for all decisions, however large or small. (Otherwise, senior management is at risk from staff deciding for themselves where they have discretion and where they don’t).

    Depressing, but it is how the world goes when the first instinct if something does not go to plan is “Who can we blame”.


    Security refusing to let passengers into Indian airports if your departure is more than three hours away.

    While other airports encourage you to check in early thus enabling opportunities for the traveller to spend on food, drinks & shopping, in India they physically prevent one from entry unless one is within the three hours. And for good measure the rule even applies for international to domestic transfers & vice versa, in which case you find yourself stranded in the baggage check in area.


    From a colleague of mine… I will confirm authenticity..

    I just had a most embarrassing experience with this “low-fare” airline on a return trip to Israel embarking from Luton Airport.

    We had traveled without suitcases (hand luggage only) and had new suitcases that we bought in London so when we came back, I purchased two suitcases (in addition to hand luggage). Both cases were in my name and the total weight was 40kg.

    When we checked in the total weight was 23 kg + 16 kg putting us within the 40kg we had purchased.

    Not so simple!! The desk clerk at the baggage checkin, after weighing the suitcases, told us we had to have 20kg only per case, meaning we had to suffer the embarrassment of unpacking and repacking to make it 20kg + 19kg. – Of course, for payment of OVERWEIGHT charges, we could have left our cases as they were and paid something like 35 GBP!!!

    As an additional humiliation, we were then told, after having successfully reorganised our cases, that check in was not for another half an hour or more!! That’s right, they had commenced checking us in and then suddenly remembered that we had come too early.

    We waited and duly checked in our suitcases. Umbrellas were taken without incident (or weighing or extra charge) to the outsized baggage check-in and duly processed.

    As we came to enter the plane and submit our passports and boarding cards to the airline staff just before walking to the plane door, we were told that handbags constitute a piece of cabin luggage so my partner’s handbag and my “manbag” had to be unpacked and stuffed into our hand luggage (for which we had paid) OR we could take both as they were and pay – wait for it 61GBP!!

    We again accepted this humiliation and reorganised.

    Will we be flying WIZZAIR again?

    I’d very much like to hope that is a rhetorical question but sometimes, force majeure dictates things we cannot control. It will certainly not be our low-cost airline of choice and if you do decide to use them, please don’t let them humiliate you the way they humiliated us. Forewarned is forearmed!!!”



    This really does seem to fall into the category of “How can we most annoy our customers?”! Your colleague owes us, the rest of the travelling public, a duty never to use such a petty and inane airline ever again.

    I wonder why no airline has ever tried the tack “Fed up with extra charges, fed up with petty restrictions, fed up with being gouged? FLY ALL-INCLUSIVE AIRLINES, where for one single fee we will fly you, and your luggage, in the seat of your choice, with the meal of your choice, and the smile of your choice from our staff”.

    Actually I know why no-one has tried it. Because they would never come top of any search based on price (isn’t it a shame that one cannot ask a search engine to list things in order of value not price – the two are so not the same!). And because in the last resort the majority of passengers are willing to be treated like cattle or worse for the sake of saving a few pounds.

    I suspect most posters on this site are not in that last category. But too many of our fellow citizens are. And the airlines can hardly be blamed for taking advantage of it.

    kresna prana

    For me, the most frustrating airline rule would be not allowing passengers to change (read: correct) the booking name at all. I haven’t encountered this myself, but I’ve heard a few cases where passengers weren’t allowed on board because they (or the booker) misspelt one letter of their name, or by mistake chose the wrong gender.

    Anyone has stories like this to share?

Viewing 5 posts - 16 through 20 (of 20 total)
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