Another Day At The Office

The following text came across recently from an obviously distraught Mary Osborne via her I phone. She was in Departures at LAX:

Continental Airlines Horrible!!!

“I just managed to have the worst check in at the airport in history. I had two longboards two shortboards ( one I was bringing for a friend) and they wanted to charge me $700. The first lady then sent me to this guy who was going to let me slide for $200, the superintendent who was another woman came over and told him not going to happen. I had to separate the two boards into another bag.
I explained that it was impossible , that they will get ruined with no cover. She said she has plastic bags (like grocery bags) to cover them. Umm no, that won’t work. She then told me to have my sponsors pay hahha. So two ladies denying me and one man saying ok. So finally I agree nicely ” I’ll pay 200 and separate” to the man. When I go to drop of at security I combined them back together. I go to my gate security and I hear them call my name on loudspeaker. I head back to see the superintendent where she says to separate again. Aren’t these boards going on same flight I ask? It apparently doesn’t matter. I asked her what does with golf bags? No answer. Then I manage to get super mad, I’m sweating all over from being sick for the last two days and moving boards around and scream at her with my horrible scratchy voice, that this is crazy. Same flight- same bags. I paid for two, now making one. No she says. When I asked for her full name she said no again. She wouldn’t tell me her full name!! I told her I write for various magazines and would love to include this issue for others. No full name again. Only Lisa M. Then I asked her “What do I do when boards arrived all messed updue to this issue?”. She says “call customer service” I again said that I wanted to file a complaint and needed her full name. After I did what she said, paid fees, yelled etc. She went to her office got me information form explaining fees for boards 4 surfboards in one bag $700. 4 surfboards in 2 bags $200. Strange huh??? And she wrote her name on back “Lisa M. Supervisor”. Moral of the story, never check in with a woman, always the man!!! Stay in Ventura!!! Traveling is a joke.”

Roundtrip from LAX to San Jose Costa Rica ticket prices range from 364.00 on the least expensive carriers, (Continental and Delta) to around 700.00 on the more expensive (United and Northwest). When one adds in the cost of Mary’s 4 surfboards put into two bags as per Continentals request, ticket cost equals 764.00 (not including tax). But in Mary’s case it actually will equal 1764.00 not including taxes, making her trip cost approximately double the highest advertised online price, assuming that rules are rules and she will need to spend 700.00 for that bag on the return leg.

It was interesting to note that while doing some cursory research, both airlines with the lowest ticket price had a string of surfer complaints and horror stories surface from several people I spoke with. Coincidence? Maybe, but possibly not. One of them had actually been the same carrier which had horribly burned me in the past. (Often policies stay in place because they do what they are designed to, maximize profit).

In the past, airlines have frequently adopted the one bag equals one board axiom. Some, especially the more reputable international carriers, still do.

Recently a pattern seems to be emerging whereby a hidden tax is being levied by some carriers. The short of it is: buyer beware. If a ticket price seems too good to be true, it may be exactly that. Learn what an airline’s baggage policy is, but more importantly what their reputation and business credo is, as demonstrated by actual daily performance. Because once in that line for baggage check in, let’s face it, you are sort of held hostage by your circumstances, and being a surfer, that could become quite expensive as air carriers struggle to survive in our current vicious business climate.

Have a complaint? File a report with your local Better Business Bureau at . Want to check on others experiences with a particular airline? Google is your friend. Type your query into search. In this information age, customer service experience is pretty easy to track if you think about it. If you are a surfer traveling on a limited budget, you may want to do the research.

The following correspondence between Continental and Doug Miser was just received and is posted below by Doug’s permission. Keep in mind that the more bags you have, the more PER BAG CHARGES you will pay. Some carriers may only alow one no charge bag these days. In other words more bags equals EXTRA fees :

Date: April 10, 2009 5:45:10 AM PDT
Subject: RE: Can this be true?

Dear Mr. Miser;

Thank you for contacting the Continental Customer Care department.  We appreciate you taking the time to allow us to respond to your concerns.

Please refer to our website at for information in detail regarding your surfboards.

Home > Travel Information > Baggage Information > Sports Equipment

Continental Airlines will accept one surfboard/wakeboard or one surfboard bag containing up to four boards per customer as checked baggage. Services charges (one way):
1 surfboard $100.00
1 surfboard bag containing up to two boards $100.00
1 surfboard bag containing up to three boards $400.00
1 surfboard bag containing up to four boards $700.00
This service charge is in addition to any excess baggage charges that may apply.

Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns, Mr. Miser. We value your business and we look forward to the opportunity to welcome you aboard. (authors note: I’ll bet they do)


Sheila Whittredge
Customer Care Manager
TRACKING NUMBER:  A00004708305-00028640684

—–Original Message—–

Sent: 02 Apr 09 20:44:11
To:  <>
Subject: Can this be true?

To whom it may concern,

I just received this email from a close friend (in regard to the story
below it) and I am planning on traveling with you out of LAX with a
surfboard next month. Please advise if this story is true. It happened
this morning from a flight from LAX to Houston.

Thank you,

Doug Miser
Ventura City Fire Department

Leave a reply