I am currently on my way to Africa for a shoot and despite having checked in with many excess bags, on plenty of previous occasions, I was just royally ripped off by British Airways. They post a media rate for bags on their website but the staff at the airport refused to honor the rates, charging me $800 for my six checked bags. It should have been $250.
First they denied there was such a rate and then when I pulled up the information from their own website on my iPhone, said they could not give that kind of discount at the airport…. Basically it comes down to personalities, and unfortunately the check in staff I ran into, seemed to be having a very bad night and were taking it out on the customers. With just a few minutes before the plane doors were going to close, I was forced to pay the full price and was instructed to take it up with customer relations. Otherwise I would still be in Newark, NJ….
So what are the lessons….
- A production company travel department booked my flight, so I can’t amend the reservation. Whenever you travel, I would recommend you make direct contact with the airline to ensure everything is in place. A reputable travel agent can also handle this for you, but never go through a third party discount website to book travel. If anything goes wrong, or you want to make a change, it can cause all sorts of problems as you can not work directly with the airline to solve the issue.
- If you have a lot of bags, as many of photographers and filmmakers do, make sure YOU discuss the bag policy with the airline prior to traveling. British Airways have caused me huge problems over the years because of rude and poorly trained staff, I would recommend United or Delta if you have any kind of press/media credentials as they actually honor their reduced rates for photo/video gear.