The American Airlines Golf Club Bag Ripoff Charge

 EmperorPenguin ·  
EmperorPenguinEmperorPenguin  1137WRX Points: 96Members Posts: 1,137 Platinum Tees
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I met a golfer yesterday who flew in from out of state and he told me that American Airlines has a sneaky tactic to extract more money from you. He told me that when he checked in his golf bag, he was asked if there are clothes in it. He answered yes, given that he has rain gear and other layers in it, and they screwed him over by charging him an extra $200 for carrying clothes in his golf bag.

My question is this. Is this exclusively an American Airlines charge, or does this apply to all airlines?

Posted:
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  • jvincentjvincent  1326WRX Points: 684Members Posts: 1,326 Platinum Tees
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    Here are the weasel words from the AA website.

    You’ll be charged the same fee as the 1st or 2nd bag fee of your destination. If you have excess bags, you’ll be charged the excess fee for each item you travel with.

    If you are traveling to, through or from Brazil, you’ll be charged $42.50 for your golf equipment.

    If the golf bag contains anything other than the approved items then additional oversize and overweight charges will apply. You may be asked to open your bag at the airport.

    I just checked Air Canada (going to Ireland in 4 weeks) and their policy states that you can carry extra clubs and balls once you aren't over 50lb.
    United has a similar "non-golfing equipment" clause to AA.

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  • raynorfan1raynorfan1  3826WRX Points: 349Members Posts: 3,826 Titanium Tees
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    Almost all airlines have a pretty specific definition of what "golf clubs" are. JetBlue defines it as 14 clubs, 3 balls, one pair of shoes.
    I've never encountered any issue with a golf bag that had bona fide "gear" (rain gear, more than a dozen balls, etc.) in it, but the airlines put the policy in place to give themselves discretion in people jamming a ton of stuff into golf bags (which traditionally have not had extra baggage fees).

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  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to Canada 13324WRX Points: 2,193Handicap: 1.6Members Posts: 13,324 Titanium Tees
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    the good old airlines, always ALWAYS looking for a way to screw you over on charges of any sort
    One of the best things about taking clubs is the ability to stuff shoes and extra stuff in the travel bag

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  • James the Hogan FanJames the Hogan Fan  1021WRX Points: 679Handicap: 12Members Posts: 1,021 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Mar 25, 2019 #5

    I fly generally Southwest domestic and Norwegian internationally. Southwest is an airline that treats your golf bag as just a bag, you can put anything in it so long as it stays under weight limits (or if you can’t, no one has ever mentioned anything about it.) Norwegian, on the other hand will charge you extra for carrying golf clubs as opposed to a regular bag of the same dimensions, and impose fees for carrying other than golf equipment.

    I have looked at many airlines and their policies vary between the extremes. Most often they seem out to screw you, but in general I think the average check-in agent is looking to move the line along. I deadpanned to a Norwegian ticket agent that my travel case had my clothes in it and said nothing about golf clubs, and she said ok and charged me for a regular piece of baggage instead of the ridiculous $40 you have golf clubs fee. It really depends on the day, but just be ready to be blindsided or have some backup plan. I would be tempted to answer “Do you have any clothes in that bag” with “Just have golf equipment in there” and see where it goes. I don’t think the NTSB report will cite an undeclared 5 iron as a contributing factor after the crash...

    Edit:
    Peculiarly, in my case my clubs in their hard case often wind up smaller than the maximum baggage size limit (62” according to the AA website) and are under the max bag weight (50lb) and so (apart from contents) meet the limitations on a standard checked bag. It really irks me that my bag, is fine to fly, but because it contains forged ingots glued to extruded tubes taped to rubber sleeves, suddenly I need to pay more... anyway this circles back to why I will happily take a 3-stopper on Southwest over some of the other carriers...

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  • tad950tad950  107WRX Points: 54Handicap: 14.8Members Posts: 107 Fairways
    Joined:  edited Mar 25, 2019 #6

    Thanks for the warning. Ever since the 50 lb. limit became the standard, I never even considered the restrictions were still in place for golf bags. I think a lot has to do with where you are departing from. Ticket agents that aren’t used to seeing particular sports equipment, seem to be more “by the book”. Or maybe the agent was not in a good mood. When in doubt, curbside is a good option. A generous tip usually eliminates minor issues.

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  • I_HATE_SNOWI_HATE_SNOW  3426WRX Points: 226Members Posts: 3,426 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Mar 25, 2019 #7

    We flew United in Jan/Feb, golf bag's loaded with snorkels, scuba fins, neoprene booties, shoes, sandals, whatever it took to hit 49#, no problems for us. Flew from DIA, no one looked in our bags or asked questions as they were too busy

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  • MaxBuckMaxBuck  473WRX Points: 221Members Posts: 473 Greens
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    Bottom line is that you're probably at the mercy of the ticket agent and local crew if you pack clothes or other non-golf items in your travel bag. If the policy and ticket contract say they can charge you extra, it's really kind of hard to say you've been "screwed" if in fact they do.

    FWIW, I just returned from a trip on United where I put my laundry and winter coat into my golf travel bag. No problems. I regard myself as fortunate.

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  • EmperorPenguinEmperorPenguin  1137WRX Points: 96Members Posts: 1,137 Platinum Tees
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    As some of you may already know, I will be going to Scotland in June to play golf. We will be taking British Airways and this is what their website says on the matter.

    You can take your golf equipment as part of your checked baggage, provided it does not exceed the maximum weight restrictions for checked baggage and is packed in a recognised bag or case to safeguard against damage. This bag can be up to 190 x 75 x 65cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5in).
    If you carry your golf umbrella or parasol separately it will count as one item of your checked baggage allowance.

    British Airways is a partner airline of American Airlines, and I worry that they may pull a fast one on me and my friends when we arrive at the airport.

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  • az2auaz2au  2082WRX Points: 286Handicap: 4.8Members Posts: 2,082 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @EmperorPenguin said:

    As some of you may already know, I will be going to Scotland in June to play golf. We will be taking British Airways and this is what their website says on the matter.

    You can take your golf equipment as part of your checked baggage, provided it does not exceed the maximum weight restrictions for checked baggage and is packed in a recognised bag or case to safeguard against damage. This bag can be up to 190 x 75 x 65cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5in).
    If you carry your golf umbrella or parasol separately it will count as one item of your checked baggage allowance.

    British Airways is a partner airline of American Airlines, and I worry that they may pull a fast one on me and my friends when we arrive at the airport.

    This is not hard. If they ask you the question, just tell them "No, I only have golf equipment". They don't check.

    Airlines work under a contract of carriage. They aren't pulling a fast one on you. The rules are very clear and choosing to ignore that is on the flyer, not the airline. There's no ripoff here. Don't overthink it. Somehow I've managed to play golf in 29 countries and 45 states with over 1,000,000 miles flown with golf clubs and I've never once been charged for extra. Why? Common sense and reading/understanding the rules. BTW, I'm a million miler on DL (2MM+) and AA (1.8MM) and thus I speak with pretty high confidence on these issues.

    Posted:
  • Bonneville85308Bonneville85308  1812WRX Points: 228Members Posts: 1,812 Platinum Tees
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    I haven't done so since mid 2018, but I used to take my clubs as checked baggage in a soft case on American about once a month for many years. Must be a recent change if anything. I always packed in clothes, dress shoes, misc. items but always made sure it was under 50lbs total before leaving home. I was never charged anything extra beyond the standard bag fee or asked to open it at the check-in counter.

    Posted:
  • cristphotocristphoto  3644WRX Points: 278Members Posts: 3,644 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @EmperorPenguin said:

    I met a golfer yesterday who flew in from out of state and he told me that American Airlines has a sneaky tactic to extract more money from you. He told me that when he checked in his golf bag, he was asked if there are clothes in it. He answered yes, given that he has rain gear and other layers in it, and they screwed him over by charging him an extra $200 for carrying clothes in his golf bag.

    My question is this. Is this exclusively an American Airlines charge, or does this apply to all airlines?

    What if you have golf balls in your regular luggage? Would they want to charge extra?

    Posted:
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  • troublelovetroublelove  371WRX Points: 84Handicap: 4.6Members Posts: 371 Greens
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    On -, @EmperorPenguin said:

    As some of you may already know, I will be going to Scotland in June to play golf. We will be taking British Airways and this is what their website says on the matter.

    You can take your golf equipment as part of your checked baggage, provided it does not exceed the maximum weight restrictions for checked baggage and is packed in a recognised bag or case to safeguard against damage. This bag can be up to 190 x 75 x 65cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5in).
    If you carry your golf umbrella or parasol separately it will count as one item of your checked baggage allowance.

    British Airways is a partner airline of American Airlines, and I worry that they may pull a fast one on me and my friends when we arrive at the airport.

    I am based in UK and have probably taken clubs on BA flights at least 100 times over the years including many transatlantic flights, Australia, Cape Town, Oz and Mexico. I have never ever had a problem or even been asked about the content of my golf travel bag. It is always stuffed to the weight limit with clothes, shoes, wash bag etc......

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  • Zac1321Zac1321  231WRX Points: 90Members Posts: 231 Fairways
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    ive only flown a handful of times all with american but never been asked the clothes question. Seems like the golfer you met was the exception and not the norm. That being said as long as you don't go over the weight limit just say there is nothing in it but golf stuff. I cant think of anyone who has ever had to open their bag at the counter unless its overweight but worst case scenario is they open it and you move some stuff around and say you forgot you put clothes in there. its not like theyre going to not let you on the flight for lying about having clothes in a checked bag

    Posted:
  • cferguson5cferguson5 Boomer Sooner  153WRX Points: 49Members Posts: 153 Fairways
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    I just flew with AA. On our trip, my wife bought our kids a bunch of clothes. We shoved most of it in my golf bag. They didn't even ask if I had anything other than golf gear in the bag. Probably just depends on the ticket agent.

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  • theboypinoytheboypinoy  2102WRX Points: 146Members Posts: 2,102 Platinum Tees
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    That's unfortunate; have flown numerous times with AA and a golf travel bag and never had that problem.

    Posted:
  • Popeye64Popeye64  1050WRX Points: 214Handicap: .2Members Posts: 1,050 Platinum Tees
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    Well I just flew American and was only charged $30 for my clubs. One of our guys was over 50lbs and opened his bag to remove clothes till it was under 50. The clothes were thrown into another's golf bag. It was all done directly in front of the counter agent. None of us were charged more than the $30.

    Posted:
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  • dbdorsdbdors Houston, Clear Lake area 2029WRX Points: 241Handicap: 15ClubWRX Posts: 2,029 ClubWRX
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    What a load of garbage. First, I love Southwest for this very reason. But I know I cant always fly them (but I try hard not to) and that everyone else can't or may not have a choice. But I did fly United a couple of weeks back and a few times last year. Each time taking my clubs. $30. Never an issue, and always make sure to keep the bag below 50 lbs.

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  • leejohnkiehleejohnkieh  583WRX Points: 85Handicap: 2Members Posts: 583 Golden Tee
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    thats insane. I fly Alaska at least 6 or 7 just in the last year and they haven't asked me about anything else in my golf bag. Hopefully they don't also start to do it. Hawaiian airlines either.

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  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 Iowa 20449WRX Points: 4,363ClubWRX Posts: 20,449 ClubWRX
    Joined:  edited Apr 12, 2019 #20

    On -, @EmperorPenguin said:

    As some of you may already know, I will be going to Scotland in June to play golf. We will be taking British Airways and this is what their website says on the matter.

    You can take your golf equipment as part of your checked baggage, provided it does not exceed the maximum weight restrictions for checked baggage and is packed in a recognised bag or case to safeguard against damage. This bag can be up to 190 x 75 x 65cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5in).
    If you carry your golf umbrella or parasol separately it will count as one item of your checked baggage allowance.

    British Airways is a partner airline of American Airlines, and I worry that they may pull a fast one on me and my friends when we arrive at the airport.

    Oh brother, just leave your parasol at home.

    Posted:
    Post edited by Hawkeye77 on
  • spineshankspineshank Charlotte, NC 638WRX Points: 119Handicap: 3.9Members Posts: 638 Golden Tee
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    I fly AA with my clubs and was never asked this. Then again i usually use the kiosk. As long as its under 50lbs its fine.

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  • umassgolferumassgolfer  860WRX Points: 184Members Posts: 860 Golden Tee
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    Here's my thoughts...every pound costs $ in terms of fuel, so creating the policy helps save them money, even if it only acts as a deterrent to keep 10% of applicable travelers from bringing the extra jackets, shoes, etc, - who stuff the bag full just because they can.

    Also, with the long and not so friendly history airlines have with damaging clubs (or other more nefarious actions) - I feel like this could be their loophole to get out of a claim, if the bags were not packed in accordance with their policy.

    Posted:
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  • m_alcom_alco Rancho Cordova, CA 362WRX Points: 53Handicap: 18Members Posts: 362 Greens
    Joined:  edited Apr 15, 2019 #23

    Just flew AA, I was never asked that question. Definitely had some clothing and other non-golf related items in the golf bag, but was under 50lbs, so maybe that is why there wasn't an issue. Although, they did break off the top handle of my hard case on my return flight. We will see how the damage claim goes, fingers crossed.

    Posted:
  • cbbaroncbbaron Quincy Mass 1166WRX Points: 190Handicap: 9.1Members Posts: 1,166 Platinum Tees
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    Fly AA 4-5 times a year with golf clubs never have been asked what is in there

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  • capnstabncapnstabn  139WRX Points: 55Handicap: 18Members Posts: 139 Fairways
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    On -, @EmperorPenguin said:

    I met a golfer yesterday who flew in from out of state and he told me that American Airlines has a sneaky tactic to extract more money from you. He told me that when he checked in his golf bag, he was asked if there are clothes in it. He answered yes, given that he has rain gear and other layers in it, and they screwed him over by charging him an extra $200 for carrying clothes in his golf bag.

    My question is this. Is this exclusively an American Airlines charge, or does this apply to all airlines?

    Yeah that sounds like a unique scenario. He should see if he can get some type of voucher for that charge.

    Posted:
  • tanker44tanker44  419WRX Points: 133Members Posts: 419 Greens
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    On -, @spineshank said:

    I fly AA with my clubs and was never asked this. Then again i usually use the kiosk. As long as its under 50lbs its fine.

    I am flying AA tomorrow first time. Great idea to use the kiosk. My wife is bringing her clubs too. We will tag and then I will make her handle first contact with the enemy since she smiles and talks very nice to people. I work for a living so I am not as pleasant dealing with fishy policies.

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  • mattw387mattw387  202WRX Points: 68Members Posts: 202 Fairways
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    I just got back from flying down to Mexico with clubs last week. I had my clubs, 3 pairs of golf clothes (from hats to shorts to socks, etc.) and the total bag weighed 38 pounds. On the way back, I put almost all of my dirty laundry in the bag and it was 45 pounds (under the 50 lb limit). Neither time was I questioned about what was inside (other than hazardous materials) and was not forced to pay anything more than my $30 checked bag fee. Sounds like OP situation is an exception, not the rule.

    Posted:
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  • dbdorsdbdors Houston, Clear Lake area 2029WRX Points: 241Handicap: 15ClubWRX Posts: 2,029 ClubWRX
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    Different gate agents interpret the rules differently. When I fly SWA out of Hobby in Houston, they never ask me to sign a waiver for a soft travel bag, never. But last week I went from Houston to New Orleans, the NO agent made me sign a waiver. I would have to do that from time to time at Columbus. So policies are not always equally interpreted or enforced.

    Posted:

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  • jvincentjvincent  1326WRX Points: 684Members Posts: 1,326 Platinum Tees
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    Here's the exact opposite of this story.

    We just flew back from Ireland last weekend from Shannon. Checked two bags at the counter, one regular and one golf bag, and got charged $0 by the agent even though the second bag should have been a charge. Thanks AerLingus!

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  • DandyDonDandyDon  218WRX Points: 66Handicap: 13.2Members Posts: 218 Fairways
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    AA never even asked me that question on my Roundtrip to Charleston…..

    Posted:

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