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Swiss charges exorbitant excess baggage fees, ignores complaints

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I recently connected on a Swiss flight from Zurich to Paris, to catch a Malaysian Air flight to Borneo for a scuba diving trip. Malaysian Air has an allowance of 10 extra kilos for scuba equipment, so there should have been no excess baggage fees for those legs of my flights.

Swiss Air insisted in charging me their full international rate of 89 Swiss francs (about $89 US at current exchange rates) per kilo for the entire flight, $899 in excess baggage fees. When I argued with their agent about this, they said the only thing I could do is to collect the bags in Paris and recheck them with Malaysia Air, and then Swiss would only charge me their standard Europe zone tariff of 20 francs per bag ($200 total). Unfortunately I did not have enough connecting time in Paris, they only thing they could offer was to rebook me for a later flight (with their full fees for changing my ticket).

Because time was short and I was joining a tour and could not be delayed, I unfortunately had to pay the full $899. I had zero excess baggage fees on my return flights with Malaysian Air, which tells me there should have been no charge for this portion of the trip.

I sent an e-mail and a letter to Swiss insisting that they refund a minimum 669 francs (the full 889 less the 200 for the Europe zone travel on Swiss). I have not received any response to either in two months now. I just sent them a registered letter, and will post a follow up with the outcome of this.

I have found Swiss to be very unfair in their excess baggage charges, and not responsive to customer concerns. In my experience, Swiss has completely failed at their stated goal of providing personal service, in-depth quality and making me feel at home.

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