As the holiday season looms, Clare Alderson wants to warn fellow travellers to double-check cabin bag allowances after an upsetting experience.
At the end of last month, the 52-year-old women’s centre volunteer made an emergency dash to Glasgow Airport for a flight to Belfast to be with her mother, who had suddenly taken very ill.
She threw a few things in an overnight bag while a relative paid for her Flybe flight.
However, when she arrived at the check-in desk Clare was shocked when told her carry-on baggage was 5cm too big to fit in Flybe’s overhead luggage-measuring box – and if she wanted to take it aboard it would cost an extra £50.
“I was stunned because I usually fly to Belfast with easyJet from Glasgow with the same bag and I have never had a problem with it on any other airlines either,” said Clare.
She explained to a Flybe staff member that she had left home in a hurry because her mum was seriously ill, and she only had £34 available in her account.
“I said my daughter could pay the £50 by card over the phone but I was told they couldn’t take phone payments,” said Clare. “I was then advised to go to a shop and get a plastic bag to transfer my stuff into.
“It was either that or I couldn’t fly with my bag. There was no flexibility shown towards my circumstances.”
Clare said she had to transfer her clothes into a shopping bag as fellow passengers filed past her to board the plane.
“It was embarrassing moving underwear and personal belongings around in full view of other people,” she said.
Clare, who lives in Carlisle, said she was further enraged when she was told her original bag would be disposed of.
“I asked where I could pick up my bag on the way home but I was told it would be binned. Not that long ago I had paid £45 for that bag.”
When Clare later complained to Flybe, the airline pointed out it had acted within its rules. Its ground-handling agents were simply enforcing an established baggage policy that has not changed since being introduced in 2016.
It is not the first time the airline’s luggage rules have upset passengers in Scotland.
In January, it was reported that Flybe staff threatened to call the police on a number of passengers at Edinburgh Airport who refused to pay a £50 excess baggage charge.
Customers had mutinied after being asked to stump up, while the airline said it took a zero-tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour.
When Raw Deal contacted the company to ask about Clare’s experience in Glasgow, Flybe again stood by its policy.
A spokesperson said: “We still allow passengers to take on board two pieces of cabin baggage; this includes one item that does not exceed 55 x 35 x 20cm, and one smaller additional piece such as a handbag or laptop case.
“Prior to a booking being confirmed, all customers have to acknowledge they had read our terms and conditions, which include full details of our baggage policy, including that relating to both cabin and hold luggage.
“Flybe is not responsible for looking after items passengers leave behind at the airport.”