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Code Share Flights - Interpretation by Aer Lingus in relation to Baggage charges introduced in January 2007

Aer Lingus takes nearly six months to reply to customer complaint letter

The following is about a situation whereby a large airline introduces a new policy, announces there will be exceptions, but in reality does not do what it has said it will do. There is not normally any real problem when an airline introduces a different fare structure, however as the case below illustrates stating one thing and doing another is not fair practice

In August 2006 it was announced that Aer Lingus will be charging for carrying luggage -"The Irish airline Aer Lingus has followed Ryanair and FlyBe in announcing that it will charge passengers extra for baggage it carries in the aircraft hold. This will be from the 17th January 2007. They will levy a fee 8.00 / £5.50 for each bag carried for short haul flights or half if it is booked on line in advance. This fee policy reflects the moves among some low cost airlines like Irish competitor Ryanair to apportion costs for optional services. The company has abolished complimentary catering on its European network. The policy will not affect British Airways passengers who are booked on "code share flights" (EI127 /BA329 for example) that operated from London Heathrow to Dublin, Cork and Shannon. British Airways has negotiated for its passengers to be exempt from the charge "

In January 2007 the charges fell into place. On the 3rd February 2007 this was tested on a flight from London Heathrow to Dublin. It was classified as a "Code share flight".

What is a code share flight? It is a business term in the airline industry dating back to 1990 when American Airlines and Qantas combined their service to and from cities in Australia and the USA. It means that a flight operand by airline a) is marketed in addition by airline b) or even C) & d). It is very common these days.

The booking Was made on line and when the passenger arrived at Heathrow airport had to pay an extra £5.00 E1163 is a code share flight with British Airways.

The Aer Lingus website was stating" Baggage Policy Changes Short-haul Flights (UK/Europe): If you are travelling on a shorthaul flight on or after the 17th January 2007 and your original booking was made after the 9th August 2006 then new baggage fees and rules will apply to your journey*. Details are as follows: Checked-In Baggage:Pay online prior to day of departure: €4 fee for every bag checked in for each flight. Pay at the airport on day of departure: €8 fee for every bag checked in for each flight. Excess Check-In Baggage: A maximum of 20kgs (44lbs) in total weight per passenger is permitted. Bags in excess of this weight will be charged an excess baggage fee at an additional €8 or equivalent per kilogram at the airport. Cabin Baggage Allowance (no change): A maximum of 1 Bag per passenger weighing no more than 6 kgs. See all other information on Baggage here. *Codeshare passengers (AA, BA, or KLM flight number) travelling on Aer Lingus operated flights will not be subject to these baggage fees.

They even issued this leaflet in Dublin Click on image to open

It is rather difficult to contact Aer Lingus by email. You can do this via some of their central European offices, but not in the UK or Ireland.

Three offices were contacted advising the passenger would be returning and would there be a baggage charge because of the "Code share" arrangements.Two offices actually replied.

Thank you for your inquiry. You have booked the flight on our homepage and it is a "pure" Aerlingus flight and the ticketnr. is also Aerlingus. I cannot recognise a BA flight nr. nor a BA ticketnr. The checked-in baggage was not paid online or in advance and therefore the check-in agent from Aerlingus charged EUR8 on the day of departure. You can pre-book your baggages online and the fee is EUR4/segment and baggage. If not Mrs..... will be charged EUR8 at the airport. mit freundlichen Grüssen - with best regards i. A. Gerelynn Maliksi-Trisl Reservation & Ticketing Aer Lingus

I am sorry to tell you that she is going to be charged again. I have seen her booking, and she has a flight operated by Aer Lingus, the code is EI, so she is going to be charged. Kind regards, AER LINGUS

Hello, As fas as I am concerned you can only book Aerlingus flights from our website (www.flyaerlingus.com) and not Codeshares. The message from our website regarding codeshare passengers are exempt from the baggage fees is correct but your flight is not a codeshare that's why your wife has been charged for the baggage fee. I attached 2 screenshots from our website containing that the flights you have booked is Aerlingus and not a codeshare@EI 192 Z THU 8FEB DUBLHR HK1 2050 2205 LK- /ETK 3 HT 6 Y SUN 8APR ETKTTT HK1 1111 1212 PNR REF-236VZB .

Yes, it is Aer Lingus flight so we charge for baggage. But you can pay for baggage in advence by internet at our webside pls choose MANAGE BOOKING and then Book your bags in advance. By internet it costs 4EUR Iwona Nagraba Aer Lingus Al.Ujazdowskie 20.

Letter faxed to AER LINGUS Dublin 11th February 2007

Good morning

I refer to our exchange of emails last week regarding being charged for baggage on Aer lingus flights. I collected my wife from London - Heathrow on Thursday evening 8th February. She had to pay for baggage.

The overhead signs at Dublin said EI 192 was BA5992 (the same at Heathrow as you will see from attached photos). She then phoned me to say she could get on an earlier flight E1 184 or known as BA5984.

When I arrived at Heathrow, as it was quiet I went up to the check in and asked them about charging for baggage. I said on the Aer Lingus website you state that you do not share on code share flights and the two Aer Lingus people said they were unaware of this and had been taking money since the rules came in.

(Click on image for larger picture)

My wife brought back a leaflet from Dublin - various languages (scan attached) again stating no charge on code shares. I am also attaching an item on code sharing off the internet. If you are being paid by the other partner air lines is this not wrong that you still show these flights as code share flights on the overhead timetables (as per photos) and probably take money from two sources? I am sure one of your major shareholders Rynair of course would welcome the extra dividend. I am copying this email to Mr Simon Calder travel writer at The Independent in the UK who I am sure would be interested in this story, in the same week that BA has started charging for additional luggage. I would appreciate if you can forward this to your head office as I do not appear to be able to communicate directly with them. Regards ......

(Click on images for larger picture)

Aer Lingus posted out an acknowledgement on the 21st February saying: "Thank you for your letter. Your letter has been assigned to a member of our Customer Care team and you will be contacted shortly. In the meantime, I thank you for your patience. etc". At the 5th April 2007 when this page on this website was created no further communication has been received. See

This situation was reported to "Which" The Consumer Magazine in the UK who replied " I can appreciate your frustration at being unable to get a satisfactory response to your emails to Aer Lingus about the charge for baggage checked into the hold.

I've checked the Aer Lingus website help section and it quotes a charge of 4 Euros if baggage booked in advance, 8 Euros is checked in on the day, no mention is made there of the charge being waived on particular shared flights and it seems that the definition of a shared flight needs to be clarified.

I will make sure that your comments are passed on. We have a complaints database where we can record incidents like this and generate a monthly report of the companies we have received the most complaints about. This will help us determine if this is a large problem and helps greatly when planning future reports and campaigns. Regards, Diane Hacker Which?

Many thanks for your email this is the section of the Aer Lingus Website: Please see bottom line.I found it by following the New Checked in Baggage Charges on the Home page. I think it is very important that they clarify this. I also attach their leaflet they give out and the flight timetable showing code sharing If they are going to charge fine, however if they say they don;t on a code share and still do I belive that is againt the Misdicription act or similar legislation. I look forward to hearing from you

Thank you for emailing Diane again, with additional information. I am replying on behalf of Diane this morning. We have all of the details and we will keep these on record. You may also wish to put in a complaint to the Air Transport Users Council to draw their attention to the issue. Here is a link to their website: http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=306 Regards, Susanne Long Which?

As this is an Irish Airline, The Consumers' Association of Ireland was contacted

HI I refer to your query regarding Aer Lingus charging for baggage on code share flights.

Unfortunately it seems Aer Lingus are within their rights to do this and you maybe should have booked through BA. We agree that it is confusing and we will be highlighting this confusion in our upcoming piece in monthly Consumer Choice magazine about airline extras.

If you have any other experiences that you would like to relate or any other questions, feel free to give me a shout. Many thanks John Cradden The Consumers' Association of Ireland 43-44 Chelmsford Road Ranelagh Dublin 6

The issue has been passed to the Trading Standards authority in the UK.

The Aer Lingus website no longer appears to have the words "Codeshare passengers (AA, BA, or KLM flight number) travelling on Aer Lingus operated flights will not be subject to these baggage fees"

However in March 2007 charges for baggage were increased again " Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair have defended increases of up to 33 per cent in charges levied on air passengers carrying baggage that is not hand baggage. Aer Lingus first introduced baggage charges in January 2007 with the online price for baggage being €4.00 and it is going up to €5.00 - a 25% increase per flight. The Consumers' Association of Ireland has denounced the increased baggage charges as "a scandalous rip-off of the traveeling public". Rynair's online baggage charges have risen by over 71 per cent in the the year since they were introduced. The British airline BMIBaby ( the budget airline of British Midland) has also increased it's baggage rates. Online they have increased from €4.00 to  €4.95"

At least they do not appear to be stating that code share flights will not be charged!

© jml Property Services April 2007

August 2007

Letter sent 11th February 2007 - Acknowledged 21st February and on the 31st July Aer Lingus finally replies. "Thank you for your correspondence. Aer Lingus are committed tp offering our customers low fares on an increasing network of routes. By reducing our costs, we are now in a position to offer our customers fares to the UK starting at  1.00 and to Europe from  19.00.

As you are aware, we have now implemented a charge for checked luggage. This is  5.00 per bag if paid in advance online or  8.00 per bag if paid on the day of travel. We appreciate that such an initiative may not be attractive to all customers. However, we feel this is keeping costs low for customers travelling with only hand luggage.

Code share passengers travelling on Aer Lingus flights are not charged baggage fees. However, on this occasion, your wife was an Aer Lingus passenger with an EI ticket. Some of our flights are stated EI192?BA... The BA flight number is for the benefit of British Airways passengers with a connecting flight on Aer Lingus to Ireland and travelling on a British Airways ticket. As your wife was not travelling on a British Airways ticket, she was charged the baggage fee.

If I can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me in writing quoting the above reference. Yours sincerely S C W...Customer Care.

© jml Property Services August 2007

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