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American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

NSL
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114 posts
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American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

When we purchased our airline tickets online with American Airlines, it said the first bag was free to Mexico... great! (we thought).

When we flew American to LAX, we were charged a fee for our bag. The lady of the ticket counter (even before we knew we'd be charged a fee) said we could try to get a refund from aa.com/refunds. She then told us we would be charged a fee for the fight for our bags and said it was because we had a domestic flight to LAX where we had an overnight layover.

This morning we got to the counter at Alaska Airlines and were charged $20 per bag. The Alaskan Airlines ticket person said that bags to Mexico were free to Guadalajara and Mexico City.

So far we have been charged $45 per bag for our two bags that we were not expecting. We will see what happens when we fly home on Alaska Airlines connecting to American Airlines with no overnight layover at LAX.

When we purchased our tickets on as.com, I believe it said that the first checked bag to Mexico was free. I will also let this TA Forum know how things go with AA.com when I return and try to get a refund for our bag fee.

(Please note that I did not use the 's' word in the title of this post describing how we are now out $90 extra so far after having done so much business with American Airlines and their partner for this trip, Alaska Airlines.). (-;

Columbia, South...
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1. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

It's because of the overnight layover I'm sure. Flown American numerous times to PV and never been charges for the first bag. But also no overnight layover. Sounds like they are treating your trip as two separate reservations.

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

No, I don't think it's the layover. I've flown AA through DFW twice in the last year to PV with a layover both times, and neither time did I have to pay the baggage fee because my itinerary included Mexico on it (this was the information I was given by the ticket agent at my home airport, and I confirmed it by calling AA - they told me so long as the itinerary for your AA flight included a flight into Mexico the bag fee on the first bag was waived.

I think you should call AA. Something sounds amiss here.

BTW, Alaska has had the bag fee as long as I can remember for PV (as noted on their website the bags are free through Guad or DF only), so you won't get refunded there.

The only possible explanation I can think of for AA applying the bag fee is the combined airlines on the itinerary so they consider it a codeshare...? I don't know, but I do know I've yet to be charged by AA for a bag on a PV flight, no matter where it originated.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for Sacramento, Puerto Vallarta
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176 reviews
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3. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

Sorry to hear about your plight and thanks for the information. I haven't flown American Airlines into PV for 5 years so didn't even know about the free bag but I do fly Alaska to PV (from SFO) 2 to 4 times a year and there has always been a bag fee, which is why I've gotten so good at flying carry-on (even staying for a month).

Do let us know what happened (and why) as others could benefit. Jenny is right though that the chances of getting a refund from Alaska (assuming you didn't fly to/from Guad or Mexico City) are about nil and I can see the point American made about the domestic flight and staying overnight (thus not a flight into Mexico) but it's all probably lost in the fine print somewhere.

Good luck nd thanks for the alert.

NSL
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114 posts
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4. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

I just got off the phone with the nice lady at American Airlines. She put me on hold for a while, then came back and told me that the situation is "very technical" and the upshot is that yes I did indeed owe American Airlines the $50 they charged me for the two bags for the first leg and yes I did owe Alaska Airlines $40 for the two bags today and yes I will have to pay $20 per bag to Alaska Airlines on my way home because they are the controlling carrier in this instance.

I did point out that the AA.com site said the first bag is free when I was booking and I am going to try again to get this resolved and refunded when I get back, and I got the nice lady at American Airlines to agree with me that it would be good if that information were available to me on their aa.com site when I was making the decisions about my flights that would have been very helpful to all of us involved.

(I'm sure glad I didn't call this practice or situation a scam or anything. We're very anxious to get to Mexico where there are people who won't even think about placing others in these "non-scam" situations like they sometimes do here here in the states.)

NSL
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5. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

The "technical" part had to do with our layover being greater than 12 hours in duration, according to the nice lady from American Airlines. That was the difference for the whole situation as I understood it.

Edited: 15 March 2013, 17:29
Everett, Washington
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700 posts
22 reviews
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6. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

Yep. They get you coming and going. The game is rigged. That's the reason I only take a carry-on, also, until they start charging for that. Then I'm not sure what I'll do.

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

"The "technical" part had to do with our layover being greater than 12 hours in duration, according to the nice lady from American Airlines. That was the difference for the whole situation as I understood it."

That still doesn't make any sense, as both of my AA layovers were over 12 hours...no fee.

Now that you've detailed your itinerary, I think I see where the breakdown is. You're not actually flying AA into Mexico, only to your next domestic destination (being LAX), and flying Alaska actually IN to Mexico is that correct? If that's the case then yes, the bag fee would apply as I'm pretty sure AA would consider that a domestic ticket on their end of the route.

If you were flying AA on both legs, then I'm about 99.99% sure the fee would not be applied. As it was explained to me, your AA ticket must include a leg into Mexico on AA. Your leg into Mexico being on a codeshare carrier probably is what nullified the fees.

So Cal
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8. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

I remembered reading about changes being made to the DOT (Dep.. of Transportation) rules.

This is the link from Alaska Airline's website:

alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/policies/b…

It appears it all depends on what your reservation/itinerary said at the time of booking.

Langley BC
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9. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

Alaska Airlines has a checked bag fee unless you fly first class.

NSL
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114 posts
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10. Re: American Airlines / Alaska Airlines baggage fee

We booked our trip through American airlines. The flight goes through LAX flying to and from Puerto Vallarta from LAX on Alaska Airlines. Both our initial departure flight and our return flight are with American Airlines. We had a 12+ hour layover in LAX on the way here.

(Yes we've arrived! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!)