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Low cost Air Baltic: beware of cheap tricks, Soviet style treatment and unpleasant surprises!

Added by ArmanGhertu on Nov 16, 2009 | Visited by 8003 | Voted by 102 persons

Two weeks ago I bought two Air Baltic tickets from Chisinau to Stockholm via Riga. Air Baltic is a low cost airline, which found its niche in connecting East European, Baltic and Scandinavian countries. Though far from the service level of leading European companies and running some obsolete planes, nevertheless, Air Baltic does its job with a strong sensation of a “soviet socialist” services.

While booking the tickets on internet you will be asked how many luggage items you will check-in, and you will be given several options: from 10 Euros per bag to 192 Euros for 8 bags! There are no details on this page about exact terms and requirements related to checked-in baggage. Thus, an ordinary customer would assume that 1 bag=20kg, which is an internationally accepted norm of one piece of luggage transported for free by one person. I paid for 3 pieces of luggage, having sorted out that 3 bags for 2 persons would suffice to cover the needs of a long trip.

But at the check-in counter it turned out to be a nightmare and complete absurdity, when the personnel put into our faces quite a strange Air Baltic explanation on a piece of paper: 1 bag should not exceed 20 kg, and all bags of a passenger should not exceed 20 kg! Thus, even if you paid for 8 bags, their overall weight should not exceed 20 kilos.

With three bags we had 50 kg, i.e. 10 kilos overweight for two persons, for which we’ve been asked to pay ... 300 Euros. This is more expensive than a ticket for a grown up man, and far away from a rate of 10 Euros per one bag of 20 kg. This is exactly the difference, which would allow us to fly with a more civilized air company either through Budapest or Vienna.

It is obviously cheating in essence through improper information of ticket buyers on terms and conditions of luggage carrying. Even if you click on the link (on the respective page where you book tickets) “Conditions of Carriage for Passengers and Baggage”, it will not provide you any clarity on baggage weights. In a normal company with a proper fair attitude towards its customers, it would have been a normalcy to add a few lines of explanations about this right in the section on number of baggage items booked for check-in.

When we called Air Baltic for explanation and told them that this is unfair business practice and abuse, they accepted the fact that it should be explained more clearly on the web site, but advised us to ... write a complain.

If you add to this a lousy treatment onboard, overly expensive water, drinks and meals, then suddenly Air Baltic ceases to be a low cost air company, but rather an old dreadful Soviet organization, which didn’t give a shit about its customers.

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