I’ve mentioned before that if I don’t post anything consecutive for a few days, you can safely assume I’m overseas. I was back in Singapore for my cousin’s wedding the past several days, so I hadn’t been writing. I just arrived back in Japan late last night and will be traveling to Korea early tomorrow morning, so again, probably won’t be updating till this weekend after I return. Unless I find some time to sit down and write.
I am now sitting at the guesthouse I always use the night before my early morning flight to Korea and as I stepped in and the guy spoke to me in English, I simply responded in English. He probably thinks I don’t understand Japanese but that’s fine because he didn’t seem to be struggling with the language, so there’s no reason to be the arrogant gaijin who goes, “日本語でいいですよ (you can speak with me in Japanese).”
But that’s not the point of this post this evening.
Last Wednesday when I arrived at Haneda for my flight back to Singapore, I was made to wait quite a long while before it was my turn at the check-in counter. As it was a full flight, I wasn’t able to check-in online since all the seats available for selection online were taken. And there was this guy, let’s call him SS (for Super Slow), who was taking a hell lot of time with 3 ground staff attending to him at the check-in counter for god-knows what reason until one of them looked exasperated and opened another counter and called for me.
I went over and the staff asked if I had any luggage to check in. I said no. She asked if I had an incoming flight and was transiting to Singapore, and I said no. Hearing my response, SS turned to me and asked, “Sir, you don’t have any luggage to check-in?” I responded, “No.” And he asked, “I have excess baggage and they want to charge me for it. Can you check it in for me?” I was stumped. I don’t even know what’s in his bag. What if there’re illegal items in there? But before I could answer, the staff told him, “Sorry sir, we can’t let you do that for security reasons.”
But SS wouldn’t have it. He said, “Why not? It’s a private agreement, if this gentleman is alright with it.” The 3 staff gathered to discuss and the guy said to me, “You Singaporean? I also Singaporean.”
In my mind, I was thinking, “So what? That is no grounds for me to believe you have nothing illegal in your luggage.” But I politely asked what happened and he very frustratingly said, “Ok, I came here with my family and we went to Narita airport but realised we left our luggage at the hotel, so I went back to take it. But I asked my family to board the plane first. I already missed my flight in Narita and came to Haneda, paid another $1,600 for a new ticket and now they want to charge me US$570 for 17 kg excess baggage.”
This story is so ridiculous, I don’t know where to begin.
First, he forgot TWO LARGE luggage at the hotel and headed to the airport without them. Regardless of how mind-numbing that sounds, that is a personal fault; not the airline’s fault. Then, he had to buy a new ticket at $1,600, which is something he had to do because of his earlier mistake. Again, not the airline’s fault. And then, he has excess baggage of over 17 kg and the airline wants to charge him for it. That is standard protocol. Any excess baggage will be charged and what more, it was 17 kg, not 17 grams. But this passenger-from-hell simply refuses to pay and is upset at the ground staff for wanting to charge him for the excess baggage because, “I already paid an extra $1,600 for the air ticket.” I wonder where he got the idea he’s entitled to have the airline empathize with his plight for being forgetful and irresponsible.
Thankfully, the staff told me to not entertain him “for security reasons” and two of them led him to the back office because he was still adamant about not paying for the excess baggage. I sure hope he made it home safely without having the police involved.
Let’s all be gracious travelers.