Skybus, First Hand Account: Checking-In

The afternoon before our Skybus flight from Columbus to Seattle last Thursday, I checked us in on-line. This included checking our luggage-four bags. (Our allowable allowance was eight– two bags each.) The on-line check-in involved following a series of simple prompts before getting out my credit card to pay for the luggage, $5 a bag. I thought four bags would be plenty.

We had four airline tickets, all purchased at the same time as a bundle. Even though it looked like I had a choice as to who I wanted to check in (each of us had a box by our names) I checked us all in at the same time and added two bags in the box next to my name and two bags next to my husband’s, leaving the boxes next to my son’s and daughter’s names blank. (Keep this detail in mind, it comes up later.)

Next step-print out the boarding passes. Each of us got our own with our names, the flight info, including the departure gate, and a large bold-face number 1. I had paid for priority boarding ($10) per ticket not long after I bought the tickets to make sure we were in the first group to get on the plane.

Ooops! My husband’s nickname was on the boarding pass. One letter was missing. Now what? Since there was no one to call at the airline to fix my mistake (Skybus doesn’t operate customer service), I called the airport to ask a security officer what to do. She said bring something with his nickname on it. Since his nickname is common for his full name, I was assured it wasn’t something to be concerned about.

Then, as we were packing I thought, I wonder if we should add just one more bag? Back on-line I went. No can do. Since I had bought the tickets as a bundle, it was all for one and one for all. I would have had to uncheck us in, check us back in to add a bag. This meant we would have lost our place in the check-in line.

Here’s the thing, I had paid for priority boarding which guaranteed us a spot in the first group so I really could have added the bag come to think of it. But, being that it was late at night, when the warning came up in red letters with an exclamation point, I hedged and said forget it.

Here is an option that would have worked. When I was checking us in, I could have only checked in three of us and left one of us not checked in. This would have allowed baggage flexibility, I assume. It’s not a huge thing, but the checked bag non-flexibility took me by surprise. If you’re an obsessive deliberator like me, going on a long trip and not too sure what to bring, it’s good to know the policies beforehand. I had assumed I could go back to add a bag since I went back to add priority boarding a couple weeks after I purchased our tickets. Now, I know.

About the extra bag, my daughter carried her bag on the plane, plus a cloth bag with snacks. Snacks are another issue. See at the airport post.