You may have already read my post about  the United Airlines baggage fees I was charged on a trip to TX. If so skip the next couple lines. If not, the story goes like this. I was charged twenty-five dollars for my kite gear on my way to South Padre, TX. On the way back I was charged a hundred dollars for the exact same set up. I requested a refund for the difference on the way back and was denied. I got two responses from United and here they are.
Email response:

Dear Mr. Cook:
Thank you for contacting United Airlines. Please forgive our delayed response. We are committed to responding in a timely manner and are doing everything possible to optimize our efficiency. 
When traveling with a kiteboard we have a service fee of $100 each way. Please view the link below. http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/baggage/sports.aspx
I regret we are unable to refund baggage fees. I am sorry for the inconsistencies as you should have been charged each way.

Thank you for your patience. 
Kind regards,
LaRece Sykes
Customer Care Mmanager

Written response:

United realizes that at times it may be necessary to travel with an item that exceeds weight limitations where additional charges may apply. In this event, all charges must be disputed at the time of payment for refund consideration. No refund will be considered after that time; therefore we are unable to honor your request.
Please be assured that United Airlines values your business and we look forward to serving you again in the future.
Sincerely,
Customer Refund Services

So there you have it. If you fly United with kiteboarding equipment expect to pay the hundo. Now that said, a friend took the exact same two flights I did and was charged twenty-five both ways so you could get lucky. But I would recommend another airline altogether. The last line of their response letter should have read, “please be sure United values your money and looks forward to taking it from you again. We will let you leave town with your stuff but then we will coerce you into paying a lot more to get it home. Of course you could always leave it with us in the airport if you don’t like it.”

My point wasn’t really to bash United but just to give other kiters the awareness of what they might get into flying with them. Expect to pay extra baggage fees.

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2 thoughts on “United Airlines response to inconsistant baggage fees for kiteboarding gear

  1. I had the same thing happen. Depending on your airport, you may have better luck at the curbside baggage drop-off, where they generally accept tips. Checking bags with a ticket agent is always a crap shoot. I was asked by a baggage counter ticketing agent if it was golf gear and she insisted on looking inside. She said she had a man who had 1 golf club in the bag and she still denied him as he had kits as well. The allowance of golf gear for free and the arbitrary assignment of higher costs for other types of sports gear is discriminatory.

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