Here's how 1 man handled $1,400 in baggage fees

The passenger reacted badly to huge penalties for overweight luggage, sparking a security scare at 2 airports.

By Bruce Kennedy Jul 31, 2013 3:01PM

Image: Airport check-in (© Corbis)Here's a shining example of unintended consequences. The Delta Airlines (DAL) check-in counter at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was closed for more than two hours on Tuesday after authorities discovered some unattended luggage.

Law enforcement went into action, calling in bomb technicians and scanning the bags, but nothing suspicious was found.

Turns out the luggage belonged to a Delta passenger heading to New York. When faced with $1,400 in overweight baggage fees, he chose to ditch the bags completely.

The unidentified traveler had a second unpleasant surprise awaiting him when the plane touched down. Law enforcement officers were waiting for the flight and interviewed the passenger after he arrived, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Ross Feinstein told NBC News.

"There was no criminal intent by the passenger," an official familiar with the incident told KIRO-TV in Seattle. "This was strictly a customer service-related issue."

Of course it was. In Delta's defense, its website does note that baggage exceeding the company's weight and size limits "will be subject to three fees: one for the extra bag, one for exceeding the weight limit and one for going over the size restriction. Fees are charged for each additional bag, each way."

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Delta collected nearly $866 million in baggage fees last year -- the most of any U.S. airline -- while the top 16 domestic carriers brought in close to $3.5 billion.

Baggage fees are just one way the airlines are trying to remain profitable as they limp out of the recession. Not only are airfares higher, says the TravelNerd web site, but the carriers "have pushed a variety of fees (e.g. baggage fees, booking fees, and ticket change fees) onto financially weary travelers to boost revenues and margins. These airline fees are not only numerous, but they are also confusing and not clearly advertised."

You do have to wonder, however, how much the closure of Delta's counter at Sea-Tac ended up costing the airline and the airport -- not to mention any customers inconvenienced by the delay.

More on moneyNOW

Jul 31, 2013 4:19PM
More passengers out to do this. Disrupt the airlines so much they'll decide charging extra fees isn't worth the cost in delayed  and disrupted flights. 
Jul 31, 2013 3:41PM

Sea-Tac TSA are also incredibly over zealous.


I don't condone what that guy did... but the frustration level with bag fees, and the lack of critical thinking demonstrated at an airport that should be world class (with Microsoft, Boeing, etc in the neighborhood)---it's a wonder there are not more incidents of this.


Basic Baggage Fees are criminal---and delay the plane because of all the people who refuse to check bags they have no business carrying on...but if you have a steamer trunk or ski's or something, you should  pay something. If this guy had been any kind of smart, he would have flown First Class or shipped this stuff ahead. $1400? What did he pack?

Jul 31, 2013 5:49PM
Best Story I've heard.  More folks should do that
Jul 31, 2013 4:49PM
Jul 31, 2013 5:51PM
GOOD for this customer and boo-hoo to Delta for raping the passengers.
Jul 31, 2013 7:06PM
Would you keep a bag worth around  $200-300 of contents or keep the $1400 and buy new stuffs at the destination?
Jul 31, 2013 5:15PM

I read somewhere else that he was traveling alone and with seven suitcases.  SEVEN!  SEVEN?


Perhaps to avoid confusion (on HIS part) he should have consulted the air carrier's website to determine what possible fees he would have in bringing all of his belongings.  Once again a company is being maligned for non-compliance of an individual and people are judging before they even listen to the facts.



Jul 31, 2013 5:09PM
Best is to use UPS/FEDEX prior to departure and not pay high baggage fees
Jul 31, 2013 9:03PM
$1400.00 in baggage fees?!  We have truly lost our minds...
Jul 31, 2013 7:12PM
"Baggage fees are just one way the airlines are trying to remain profitable..."

$1400 in fees is trying to gouge someone, not "remain profitable."
Jul 31, 2013 4:33PM

I realize that it's not possible for business travelers to use alternatives to air travel all the time. And some folks, especially those who have an admirable ability to check their dignity at the front door, won't.


But for me the best part of today's air travel is using it the same as if it did not exist. This will work as long as Amtrak and the Family Truckster will continue to let me see the U.S.A.

Jul 31, 2013 6:29PM
I would have been so po'd I'd have done the same thing.
Aug 2, 2013 10:46AM
Cheaper to ship your luggage via Fed/Ex...
Aug 1, 2013 12:36PM
NEVER fly Delta- anytime I've ever had something stolen from my luggage, it has been from Delta airlines. Two cameras and a video camera that had my husband's proposal to me on it.
Nov 20, 2013 1:22AM
dear is not bad but the main point is if airline give a free bag of worth Rs. 1400 $ than how it would be able to give it because now a day every airline not give this type of promotional offers.

Aug 2, 2013 6:40AM
Welcome to our world of corporate greed, fees and penalties for using their services. Makes perfect sense since deregulation, corporate malfeasance and unabated price hikes is what all corporations operate bt now while banking trillions offshore and outsourcing all American jobs. Thank you GOP for your 'Free Market' BS. It should really be called 'Corporate Rape'.
Aug 2, 2013 2:02AM
Bag fees keep the fare lower.  Same with all the other fees. At least with the fees people pay for what they use. Without the fees every one would pay higher fares so those that use all the services would be subsidized by every one else. 
Aug 1, 2013 9:43PM
He should have consulted the airline, it was one person with seven bags, he disrupted the airlines business, the airlines are charging extra coming out of the recession, BULLS**T, I am so thankful I don't have to fly. You used to get a ticket, get on the airplane, load your bags, go, get off, and press on. Now, you pay through your a**, get herded like a goat, treated like a criminal, charged like a scam and scolded because you did what?, you left your bags?, I hope it stops up the airport like a constipated cow and costs them a gazillion dollars, those maggots deserve it.
Aug 1, 2013 2:32PM

makes me wonder...when you see all these mid Asians  lining up with enormous suit cases, cardboard boxes

etc...never seems to be an argument.. suppose they just pay their $1400 AND GET ON THEIR WAY...OR



More than likely  they don't get charge..  I used to be a loyal Delta customer  ..but after one famous screwover  I quit...

that was in1992.. I ship my suitcase by UPS/FEDEX to the hotel at my destination.... screw the airlines

and their avaricious overpaid management..

Aug 1, 2013 1:21PM

The biggest rip of and money  maker in history of Airlines the fees must  stop ,If people stop fly  with them they will  stop all  the fees.

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