The incompetence of Aer Lingus at NCE

As you may know, we recently moved back to the US. I might write more about this in the future. Here I want to report some problems with Aer Lingus when flying out of the airport in Nice (NCE).

We arrived about two hours early, which was actually way more than usually needed given that our first leg was just up to Dublin. Normally it is sufficient to arrive an hour in advance before flights within Europe. We knew that our luggage might be overweight and we had attempted to spread the weight between two suitcases and our carry-on items (two each, including “personal items”). But without a scale, we had no way to know the actual weights. The Aer Lingus website said that it is possible to pay an additional EUR 75 fee for excess weight, so we figured we were covered if necessary.

So when they weighed the luggage, we were overweight on both bags. Our question then was if it was more cost effective to reshuffle everything heavy into one bag and keep the other bag lighter, or if it was fine to be over on both bags. However, the employees at the counter did not know the prices. They said that excess baggage charges are handled down the way at the AviaPartner desk and only they would know the cost. I went down to that desk, and waited in line for about 10 minutes before being helped. The lady who did help me didn’t actually know the prices either. At first she thought it was per kilogram, but then she looked at some papers and realized that baggage to the US was a flat rate as we had seen on the website. As expected, the EUR 75 fee was per bag, so it was generally better to get everything heavy in one. But, she indicated without much certainty that there was a maximum weight.

Afraid that we would go over that maximum weight, we couldn’t actually move everything heavy as we had planned. We decided we’d probably just have to eat the cost of two EUR 75 fees. So we went back up to the ticket counter and they decided we’d need to pay on both bags. They gave us a paper to bring back down to the other desk and told us we needed to pay and then come back before the luggage could be checked. Tiffany went down there this time and I’d estimate that the ordeal took her more than 20 minutes. Apparently AviaPartner again didn’t know the price so they had to look it up. They settled erroneously on the per kilogram price, meaning we overpaid EUR 45. But we didn’t have time to argue with incompetence at that point. Meanwhile, I complained to the ticket counter workers that it was taking too long and that most airlines just let you pay right at their counter. One of the ladies had the guts to tell me I should expect this type of delay because my luggage was overweight. So to summarize, this is a service that they offer on their website, but if you take advantage of the option to pay extra for extra luggage, they view you as a rule-breaker who doesn’t deserve fast service. It’s hard to say if this was Aer Lingus, or just typical apathetic French customer service.

After overpaying and dealing with incompetent, but fast, airport security (maybe I can write more at a later date), we made it to the gate just as the agents were searching for us for final boarding. Our luggage didn’t make the flight. We got the two suitcases about 24 and 36 hours, respectively, after arrival in Cleveland. Tiffany wrote a letter to Aer Lingus so they have a chance to make things right, at very least with respect to our over-payment. We’ll see how they respond.

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