As I was flying on British Airways this weekend I became aware of an error that could entice people to pay extra for their checked baggage even though they are entitled to additional allowance.
British Airways had a 40% off sale on Economy Class Awards to London a few weeks ago (LoyaltyLobby wrote about it here) and since I needed a flight from Vancouver to Berlin I decided to jump on this offer. All in the one way flight YVR-LHR-TXL came to 13,750 Miles and 247 CAD Taxes and Surcharges. Considering this low amount I couldn’t justify spending 75,000 Miles for Business Class (and close to 600$ surcharges).
Knowing about the extra baggage allowance for BA Gold members I didn’t worry about my baggage allowance at the time, usually I never check any baggage but this time I did carry two pieces that were pretty heavy as well.
You can access the baggage allowance for British Airways on their website (access here).
BA has joined most airlines in offering only ONE piece of baggage free of charge even to North America. Gold Elite members of the Executive Club as well as oneWorld Emerald members receive the benefit of an additional checked bag up to 32KG in any class of service. Silver Elite and oneWorld Sapphire members receive a guaranteed total of 2 pieces checked baggage in any class of service with a weight limit of up to 32KG.
British Airways has a very good website and oneWorld a very good IT in general, at least in my experience (aside from the constant fare errors BA had). It is surprising that in the reservation and upon check-in they don’t take these Elite balances into account when one designates the additional piece of check in baggage.
Not only does it show one has to pay extra but there is also a ‘Special Offer’ if the passenger prepays this fee on the website. Someone who isn’t familiar with the Extra Allowance benefit could very likely be tricked into purchasing something that is for free anyway.
At the airport, naturally I did not encounter any resistance to check in my two pieces. It wasn’t even mentioned.
BA should really fix this because it’s an easy thing to do to play the extra allowance into the IT and display functions. Someone who usually doesn’t check many bags is likely unfamiliar with that aspect of the Elite membership, I had to read up on it as well.
In addition I had to insist on a priority tag which the staff member said is not available unless flying in Business / First, even for BAEC Gold members. He did attach it but it didn’t help a bit receiving the bags at the final destination (they were among the last ones to be delivered).