Joan Collins excess baggage bill: $4,966 for $180,000 in luxury bags

While you visit Gadling and read my rant about $45 carry-on bag fees, other air passengers are having having fun turning excess baggage into a challenge – not a complaint.

Take for example Joan Collins – Because she travels a lot between London and the United States, she says she feels “compelled to travel like a packhorse”.

And she isn’t kidding either – each trip involves a professional packing firm, 30 Louis Vuitton cases and baggage transport fees for all those bags.

Think about that for a second – every single time she flies between her two homes, she carries clothes, accessories, books, CD’s, DVD’s and a bunch of other household junk.

Lets put this into numbers for a moment – her luggage firm charges $183 for each bag. Thankfully this price does include door to door service, but the total bill is $4,966 each time she travels (she gets a nice discount when she transports more than five bags).

Of course, that is nothing compared to the estimated value of her Louis Vuitton luggage – with an average price of $6000 each, her collection of monogrammed luggage is worth about $180,000. Kind of makes me worry a little less about paying $25 to have my bag placed in the hold.

I do have a tip for her: if you buy two of everything, you won’t have to transport it between your two homes each time you travel.


Airline chairman in hot water for 840 pound luggage load

When the chairman of Thai Airways arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport, he did so with his wife, and 30 pieces of luggage. His official luggage allowance is just 132 pounds, so the 840 pounds of stuff he was dragging along with him on his trip was about six times too heavy.

Based on the excess luggage rates for Thai Airways, Mr. Wallop would have been expected to pay about $12,000 for the right to bring his luggage on the plane – but apparently he felt he was too important to pay. And that is where a firestorm of criticism started.

Thai Airways hasn’t posted a profit in several years, and the chairman was already on shaky ground. This incident has finally forced the airline board to investigate the incident, and they placed Wallop on administrative leave.

The whole story gets even better, because apparently Wallop demanded that all his luggage be sent to the lost and found depot at Bankok airport, in order to prevent it passing through customs (and being subject to import taxes). As the storm grew, Wallop even claimed all 30 bags were filled with donations for a local Buddhist temple.

Even the Thai government managed to get involved – and with growing calls for his resignation, Mr. Wallop will probably really regret pushing the limits on luggage allowance, since it will end up costing him his job.

More baggage scale woes. Can luggage suffer from water weight gain?

On my last airplane trip, my daughter and I took only carry-ons so baggage scales were a minor thought. Not long ago I wrote a post on the problems with scale calibration at American Airlines check-in counters.

Jeffrey chased that post with another scale problem missive. This time the scale culprit was discovered at the Tuscon International Airport. After reading this Jaunted post about what one honeymooning couple discovered in the Caribbean, it does appear one might be a bit suspicious if your baggage has had a weight gain.

Although people may retain water on different days–or at different hours of the day, which might explain weight fluctuation, I’m not sure that luggage does. Or does it?

As this Jaunted story goes, upon arriving at the St. Lucia Hewanorra International Airport to hoist their luggage on the scale as one of the steps to departing from a honeymoon in paradise (I hope it was paradise), the couple discovered their bag must have been eating while they weren’t looking. How else can you explain 15 pounds? Even water weight gain doesn’t fluctuate like that.

Northwest Airline’s extra baggage fee and the advantage of children

When I was looking at my Frequent Flier miles summary from Northwest Airlines, the extra baggage fee notice caught my eye. The surcharge of $25 for the second bag starts on May 5. Grant wrote a post about why airlines have taken to such money making strategies. As a person who is not the lightest of packers, I have some incentive now to really think about what I’m loading into a suitcase. This means I’ll have to do better than the last minute pack job I’m so geared towards.

The excess baggage rules do remind me of the advantage of traveling with a small child. Small children’s clothes don’t weigh much or take up much space. If a child is over two, you’ve already paid for the seat and with that seat comes a checked bag. Take advantage of the packing space. As long as your kids are in child sizes, you’ll do fine. Since kids get a carry-on too, put toys and essentials in that. Perhaps, you can even tuck in some of your items. Your toddler might not be able to carry the carry-on onto the plane, but that’s not part of the regulations. Kids are also good for carrying things like video cameras. Just sling the strap over one shoulder so the strap crosses the chest. With some careful planning, you might be able to take advantage of the extra space a child affords for at least seven years.