I've had more luggage sent astray and probably had more delays while flying American Airlines than with any other carrier, foreign or domestic. In fact, I've often thought that if I had kept a log of it, it would show that my luggage has racked up more air miles than I have.
As a result, I try to avoid American when at all possible. And its latest announcement, that it would charge $15 for a checked suitcase -- not an extra piece of luggage, mind you, but the first non-carry-on, solidified my antipathy to the airline.
However, thumbs-up to the Loews Hotel chain. Reacting to American's questionable new charge, the hotelier launched a "Baggage Buy Back" incentive that will reimburse guests for their $15 checked baggage fee.
This not only is smart marketing, it is particularly good news since American's new fee no doubt will be copied by at least some competitors who now charge extra only for a second checked bag. Delta, for example, charged me an extra $25 for one on an international U.K.-to-New York flight last week.
How complicated is the program? Says a Loews spokesperson:
"Arriving guests need only present any airline bag fee receipt at the front desk to receive the rebate, which will be issued in the form of a credit to their bill at checkout. The ... rebate is available at Loews' 18 properties in the U.S. and Canada, beginning June 15 through Labor Day.
"Loews Hotels will offer credit for up to two bags for a maximum of $30 per occupied room per stay."
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