18th August 2017 at 12:09 #823386
I just had an unusual experience with Swiss.
I booked a return flight in Europe to include a Bag and Seat reservation. (non cancellable/ No Refund)
This fare inclues a Bag which if it is a Bike attracts no extra as long as it is under 23k etc. I have done this many times before.
They ask you to call to reserve the space for the bike as some aircraft have limits for these bag types. I called and they said the return leg was ‘Full’ for bikes.
So with the prospect of getting to the foreign airport and being denied transport of the Bike (box) I asked what the options were.
The suggested maybe paying for Freighting the Bike or Rebooking to another flight. And that there would be a ‘Rebooking Fee and possibly a fare increase. A refund was not an option.
The Agent hinted that if I had called them on the day of the booking they migt be able to have helped further. There is no mention of this on their website. In fact, I called a week after making the booking when I dediced that my baggage item would be a bike and not a suitcase.
Any views? If the carrier cannot accommodate me (an my chosen bag type) on a flight because they are ‘Full’ after I made a non changable booking what am I to do?18th August 2017 at 12:44 #823397
You’d have to look very carefully at the fare conditions to see, but looking at it from an airline perspective, I suspect that they would have themselves covered by saying that by changing ‘bag’ to ‘bike’ you are changing your reservation, and technically they would be correct, if pedantic. And they are Swiss!
If you don’t have access to the full fare rules, I can find them for you and post them here if you give me the fare basis, month of travel and routing. You don’t have to give me anything that would enable me to identify your specific booking. The fare basis is usually on the same line as the flights, so it would look something like LX 600 M 15JUL LIS ZRH OK MEXPR4 etc.18th August 2017 at 14:23 #823415
I will do a bit more research but consider the following
1. Customer buys a product/service* from a company via internet and pays in advance.
2. Company advises that the Customer should call the Company to confirm availability of Product/service.
3. Customer does this and Company says Product/service is not available.
4. Company suggests Customer pays more money for a similar or alternative service/product and offers no Refund.
I expect that if the product/service were a TV or consumer item then there would be no arguement that the Consumer should be accommodated at their discretion!
* The specific product/sevice for the carriage of a Bike (as opposed to a normal Bag) is not selectable at the time of booking/paying thus requiring the phone call. If it were selectable in advance then the whole problem falls away.18th August 2017 at 15:15 #823443
Looking at the LX website, it says :
“Pre-paid baggage may not be applied to the transportation of animals (in the cabin or in the hold) or any sports equipment.”
I’m assuming a bike would be ‘sports equipment’, but the rule for the fare you chose is probably different.18th August 2017 at 15:21 #823446
Some types are limited for large bags like bikes, surfboards,etc.i.e. 146 or CS100/300 on LX ‘though container cargo is no problem on other aircraft. It must be in LX baggage rules because a cycle team would be a problem unless planned in advance! Cargo is the best option.18th August 2017 at 18:57 #823483
I am still in contact with Swiss on this subject but it is interesting to note (and as a travelling cyclist I am very well versed in the matter ot getting bikes on to planes) that other airlines (like Vueling and for example) simply take your money (the charge extra for the bike) and do not ask you to pre-book. Also never had a pre booking issue/requirement with BA.
The aircraft in question on my SWISS booking is an A321 which has a significant Cargo capability so limiting the carriage to 3 bikes seems questionable? I wonder why Vueling (and even BA) can manage without a pre booking requirement?
Hmm…18th August 2017 at 21:50 #823488
Never had a problem with BA or other oneworld members with my bike, no advance notice needed. In fact I do a big sportive in Italy each year and often the return leg has +/- 15 bike boxes checked in (on an A320) and never a problem. I always pack my bike box with other gear so usually weighs around 26kg and never been charged excess with BA, Cathay or Qantas.
Sounds like Swiss are being a bit inflexible here.23rd August 2017 at 15:20 #823909
I contacted Swiss again. I had a lengthy conversation with an Agent. They were adamant that this really was my problem and that I needed to Pay to Re-book. I insisted that I did not want to Re-book and that I wanted to travel on the flight that I booked and paid for but now they did not have space on (me and my Bag/Bike). If THEY wanted to Re-book me on a different flight then I would accept this. Still they would not budge.
I then remembered the magic word that seems to work wonders. I mentioned that I’d like to arrive at a solution but would be contacting my ‘RechtSchutzVersicherung’ i.e legal expense (rights protection) insurer after the call.
Immediately I was put on Hold and within 2 minutes, the Agent came back and re-booked me at no charge.23rd August 2017 at 22:56 #823940
The RechtSchutzVersicherung is a wonderful policy to have. Mine costs about CHF 180 a year and covers all the family. I’ve not had to use it yet but it’s comforting to know it’s there, and in Switzerland people know if you have it the company will take your case all the way to the top appeal court if necessary, so they are more likely (as in your case) to look to settle the matter. Well done.28th August 2017 at 23:20 #824513
Agreed LP, all the people I know in Switzerland ensure they have one.
This kind of makes up for the lack of a Small claims court (as is in place in the UK and Ireland).
I remember my Landlord having some problem with the Property Management Company and nothing happened until he used the magic work (“I must chek with my RechtSchutz… etc) and the following day theree were Maintenence Men buzzing around the place. Complete Magic.
I am still staggered that Swiss really wanted to turn their ‘Full’ cargo hold into MY problem!8th September 2017 at 16:54 #826263
As a footnote to this topic…
I was rebooked on the following days’s flight but on calling SWISS before the trip, they COMFIRMED me on the initial flight (that is to say, CONFIRMED me and my BIKE) so that my original booking was ok.
On Arrival in Zurich, I waited beside the delivery belt for my flight and noted that FIVE bikes were delivered (I was told only 3 were ‘bookable’). I noted also that all the other persons collecting bikes had been part of the same bike event as me.
CONCLUSION….. They say 3 (dont know why) but can, (if pushed)… go to as many as it suits them.
NOte to Self…… certainly renew that RechtSchutz Insurance policy next year8th September 2017 at 22:58 #826278
I was re-reading your post two days ago as I found myself in a very similar position with another carrier (and thought I will have to play that insurance card you wrote about but which I do not have as I hear of it for the first time).
I booked a ticket three months before flight with no option of registering sports equipment as extra luggage during booking process but phone number to call. As I was away from EU I decided to place a call after I come back home what was two days ago and still more than a month in advance of my flight. I made a 100 Eur payment for connecting flights with another carrier and than called longhaul carrier to be told that there is no possibility to book kitesurfing equipment for that flight. Agent made very long effort, told me there is no space for any kind of sports equipment on that flight and at the end suggested that I change date of my outbound flight to one week earlier because on that flight there was cargo availability but for some other kind of sports equipment what could be used for the one I was supposed to carry. She also asked me to check availability with connecting carrier what I did and then placed another call with them. Another agent answered and he went to change flight dates which come with 250 Eur fee of which I knew and agreed but when I asked him to confirm special luggage availability he sad he can’t do it without confirming booking. So I agreed and then he connected me with “special services” who told me that there is no available space for kitesurfing or any other sports equipment for that destination on any flight in September, October or November and that I should book that flight in February latest! The whole reason I was travelling there was kitesurfing and if I could not fly with my equipment I would not book with them. Buying another board in destination was out of question as I do not need another board and renting would cost me even more, almost as plane ticket. I asked “special services” agent for advice what to do and he offered full refund on my non-refundable ticket what I have accepted; 24h later money was on my account. I am very happy with such solution even though new tickets with another carrier might cost me more and I’ll have to travel almost double the time of original flights. Another option is to buy foldable board (for a decent price as those boards are very expensive) which can be packed in a normal suitcase and book flight with them again as they left very positive impression and still have decent priced flights on similar dates. I have to say I did not think they will offer me a full refund so even though my trip is in question I am not an unhappy costumer.
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