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Fiji: Air Pacific excess baggage charge

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#1 wudai



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Posted 03 May 2008 - 09:18 AM

I'm flying from Hong Kong to Sydney and from Sydney to Nadi, Fiji in October for a week onboard the Fiji Aggressor. I'm planning to fly Air Pacific but I'm worried that I'll have more than 20kgs or luggage which means I'll have to pay excess baggage charges. I was wondering if anyone has been on Air Pacific and if so were they very strict with excess baggage charges? Ie., if you were 10kgs overweight did you have to pay the exact excess baggage charges? Were you able to "negotiate" a discount?

#2 eric black

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 04:46 PM

any time that I have been in that situation, I have had to pay the exact fee. Overall, its not usually too bad, just keep it in mind when you are questioning yourself if you really need that extra piece of equipment. On Aggressor boats, you can sacrifice quite a bit of clothing as they are not that "black tie" outside of diving.

#3 wudai



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Posted 04 May 2008 - 05:25 AM

Thanks Eric. But the problem is I have camera equipment and so will all of my friends who are going on this trip. Unfortunately, I've never been able to travel with less than 20kgs (the free limit) ever since I've owned a DSLR. Furthermore, I've been all over the world (SE Asia, Galapagos, Cocos, etc) and in most airports the guys have given some sort of "discount" if we went over the weight limit. I would really appreciate feedback on first hand experience on the Sydney/Nadi route. ;)

#4 fdog


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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:03 AM

We flew LAX-NAN on FJ two months ago. We also had heard that FJ is draconion about weight, so we packed especially conservatively.
We took two bags apeice, one with dive gear at 43 lbs (19.5 kg), and one with a scooter at 64.8 lbs (29.5 kg), fully expecting to pay the overweight charge on the outbound.

We also took an extra bag, because we'd heard such horror stories about the carry-on limit, and we usually carry on wetsuits, masks, regulators and cameras. So we had a single extra bag that weighed about 30 lbs (13.5 kg).

We have a very accurate Tanita scale at home (at $300 it should be) and pre-weighed our luggage just to make sure. On the outbound from LAX we were carefully weighed, and charged for the 2 overweight bags, and, for the extra bag.

I should add that my wife and I fly quite a bit (yes, I know that everyone thinks they fly quite a bit, but we really do) so there's a few tricks and behaviors we do that help out the Counter Agents and Gate Agents, so they usually give us more leeway. If you're nice and cooperative you usually get what you want...

Anyway, on the outbound, LAX-NAN, we were charged for the overweight, move on please.

On the return, all the little nice behaviors paid off, the CA didn't charge us a thing. We had a credit card out and ready to pay, too! He just waved it off. I got the impression it was too much of a pain for him to swipe the card, and we'd made it easy for him to just throw the bags on the belt. On our same flight, one of our group was a PITA to the CA, and he was charged for everything, they even weighed his carry-on and made him check it.

As far as carry-on goes, again, we'd heard the horror stories. The only place we saw carry-ons weighed was at the check-in counter, and it mostly seemed to be by "eyeball size", if you had a big carry on they'd weigh it and place it in the little sizing frame. At the gate, they weighed nothing (had no way to weigh stuff) and I didn't hassle anyone about size. It showed too, because on board the aircraft, we saw some huge carry-ons. If we were to do the flight again (little chance of that, we will never fly FJ again unless it is the only way there) we would load up our carry-ons as usual, park them with someone out of sight from the CA, and check in.

Don't expect "the usual follow the proceedures" with FJ that you get with other airlines. We flew as part of a tour package, and you can upgrade your ticket to F for $2600. If there's space available in F and you wait until the time of check-in, it's $600 apiece; the arbiter is where you are on the upgrade list. We got there several hours early and camped out, and were placed at the top of the list. The couple behind us did the same, #3 and 4 on the list. We called the reservations line after checking in and confirmed that there were 4 seats left in F. Woo hoo! we thought.

Nope. A family of four was called to the podium at the gate and give the upgrade! During the flight, another couple we were traveling with (they paid the $5200) ended up sitting next to the lucky family, who was quite glib about the way their friend the gate agent made sure they were upgraded. Apparently this is the norm - upgrades go to friends and nonrev until they run out of friends and nonrev, then they go to the list. So it's just a little airline with little adherence to proceedure, and if you're a road warrior that is used to the system, don't expect it here.

Anyway a long ramble, I hope it answers your questions. The upshot is we could have flown QF metal, been upgraded for miles, and had a better experience all the way around. Instead we flew on FJ, and will never do it again.

BTW, diving in Fiji made the pain of FJ worth it! How 'bout that?

All the best, James

#5 wudai



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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:48 PM

thanks James!!

#6 John Bantin

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 03:57 AM

I am friends with someone who was once the big boss of BA. At that time I asked him if he would give me a letter of recommendation. He said it was more than his job was worth and that I'd do better to make friends with someone at the Check-in.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?


#7 JudyG


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Posted 28 May 2008 - 03:05 PM

I'm flying from Hong Kong to Sydney and from Sydney to Nadi, Fiji in October for a week onboard the Fiji Aggressor. I'm planning to fly Air Pacific but I'm worried that I'll have more than 20kgs or luggage which means I'll have to pay excess baggage charges. I was wondering if anyone has been on Air Pacific and if so were they very strict with excess baggage charges? Ie., if you were 10kgs overweight did you have to pay the exact excess baggage charges? Were you able to "negotiate" a discount?

We flew Air Pacific LAX - NAN return last July. We had no issues at check-in at LAX with dive bags (which were slightly overweight - we were prepared to pay the overage if asked), nor with carry on bags being weighed, however on exit from Nadi, not so much. Again, checked bags went through with no overweight charges, and we thought we were home free as we headed through security. However, at a random bag weigh in the chute into security (not, apparently, by a Fiji Air official, but instead by a security employee ?!), I got nabbed for my rolling carry on bag (legal size), which was just a few pounds overweight.

As an aside, Air Pacific's draconian carry on baggage allowance is 5 kg - imo, ridiculously low for a 747, and especially for international travel. Knowing in advance that they were tight on carry on bag weight, I, for the first time ever, took the chance of checking my housing (well wrapped in neoprene), as well as strobe arms and any other non-delicate bits. As I was traveling with my better half (non-photog), I split the strobes between us, had my prescription dive mask tucked in there as well, and a few pieces of clothing so the stuff wouldn't bounce around too much.

I was informed by the whippersnapper that my bag was overweight and would have to be checked. I looked back into the check-in area, and the Air Pacific lineups were out the door. I made my case, saying that the bag was not significantly overweight, that I had brought it down with no issues on the same airline (and, as it ended up, the same aircraft) out of LAX, and that if I needed to return to the check in to check the bag of "delicate camera gear", I would likely miss my flight. Still no budge from whippersnapper. Meanwhile, whilst I was pulled aside, I watched as numerous folks scooted past him - one woman had a large pelican rolling bag, and when questioned, she told him she had camera gear in there, and he waived her through. Hello?

So, I'll admit I snapped (a little ;^) I opened my bag and said "Okay, then, watch this" and I started to layer on the few bits of clothing that were in there. To make my point, I even put on my dive mask (I suspect much to the amusement of other passengers using my diversion to scoot through security before they got nabbed).

The (no doubt) incredulous dude decided that perhaps he should let the crazy lady go through - which I did (admittedly very hot and bothered) - and as soon as I was on the other side, I peeled the layers (and the mask ;^), repacked them, and headed for the departure lounge.

Just so you know...

For days after the trip I was still peeved about the incident. For catharsis purposes, I wrote the following ditty and shared it on another forum. I hope it gives you a smile.

Carry On Blues

[To the tune of Summertime Blues, with a little poetic license]:

Well, I'm gonna raise a fuss, I'm gonna raise a holler
Been working all year just to pay big dollars
For a crappy seat with leg room for a dwarf
And food & beverage service that makes you wanna barf

And every time I take a flight, I get nuthin' but grief
Treated like a terrorist, or some at least some kinda thief
My bags they get picked over, and all liquids are taboo
The bastards even took my 3 oz tester of shampoo

Sometimes I wonder how a girl's gotta pack
To keep the airport monkeys from climbing on her back

Well my dive buddies told me, "you gotta carry on your gear”
Cuz TSA will break it, if they think that it looks queer
The scanners and the handlers they ain't got no respect
So cameras and regs n stuff fer sure are gonna get wrecked

Well you can't carry it on cuz they say it weighs too much
And you can't check it in cuz of baggage chimps and such
And if you chance to check it, don't count on its arrival
So many bags are lost in space: it's a fustercluck revival

Sometimes I wonder what a girl's gotta do
To get herself to a dive trip, with her gear bags too

When I tell my travel agent about these sorry woes
"I'd like to help you girl but that's just the way it goes”
So I'm gonna stuff two bags, gonna sneak 'em past the scale
I'm gonna carry on my stuff, the chimps can go to hell

Since 9/11 the airline industry’s a joke
Only nobody's laughing, they're just hassling us good folks
Pat downs and shoes off and secondary screening
Have left this forty something housewife positively steaming

Sometimes I wonder what I'm a gonna do
But there ain't no cure for these traveling blues

So bring on databases, and retinal scans
I've got nothing to hide, and neither does my man
We just wanna travel in peace, without all this crap
And get some basic respect from grumpy airport staff

Give us a decent bag allowance, most times it’s much too low
And let us carry on our camera stuff, it's delicate you know
The guy sitting next to me weighs a quarter ton & overflows his seat
He's packing 5 carry ons or more, measured out in meat

Sometimes I wonder what I am going to do
Cuz there ain't no cure for these carry on blues

It's all about dollars - finding a way to pad the fare
They forget it's a competitive business, to get us from here to there
My dollars are going to airlines that go easy on the weight
And have a decent record for not arriving late


Edited by JudyG, 28 May 2008 - 03:09 PM.

#8 JackConnick



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Posted 28 May 2008 - 04:02 PM


That's by far one of the funniest posts I've read here. Good for you. I say we wear weight belts too!!


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#9 Canuck


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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:15 PM

I hope it gives you a smile.

A big one. :D Thanks.

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#10 wudai



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Posted 30 May 2008 - 06:09 PM

:D :D **BIG SMILE** :D :)