Qantas is hitting passengers with excess baggage fees under its new one-bag policy introduced yesterday, even if they started their trip before the new policy came into effect.
A Qantas spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller that Qantas would not give any grace to passengers who were mid-way through an itinerary with the airline, as the change in checked baggage policy was first announced in December last year.
Photographer Jeff Crow was one of many to be caught out by the ruling when Qantas check-in staff at Brisbane airport insisted on charging him additional baggage fees for his return flight to Melbourne on June 1st – despite the fact that he paid no fee when departing from Melbourne on May 20th with two checked bags.
"I checked in at Melbourne Airport on May 30th, and was also automatically checked into my return flight from Brisbane on June 1st," Crow told Australian Business Traveller.
"When I showed up to Brisbane Airport for the return flight, I was informed that as of June 1st, I was no longer allowed to check my cameras in as 'fragile' and everything 'HAD' to go down the baggage chute as checked baggage."
"A customer service person put both my bags down the chute, and then, once they were out of my hands, a ticket popped up and told me I owed $30 for the second bag. If I didn't pay, Qantas told me I wouldn't be allowed to board the flight."
"Unfortunately, when I bought my ticket and started my flight, I couldn't pay for this and it wasn't available, so Qantas charged me a $30 penalty for something that wasn't available."
Qantas Senior Communications Advisor Kira Reed told Australian Business Traveller that passengers who bought tickets before the change in policy was announced in December would still be able to fly under the old baggage rules. However, Crow did not fall into this category.
"In the case of a ticket booked after 1st December, any travel before 1st June would have been under the old baggage policy, but his return trip would be part of the new policy, and that would have been documented on his ticket itinerary," Reed said.