I don’t know if you remember but almost a month ago now, I got word from Alex Caizergues that Air France had changed its luggage policy for sports equipment, specifically surf/windsurf/kitesurf equipment and started charging an extra $200 per flight, meaning an extra $400 for a typical round trip! whereas a golfer is totally exempt of any surcharge… This was pure scandal, especially for kitesurfers who often travel light, thus the fake gold bag…, and with most kite bags that do not exceed the surf limit dimensions. Anyway, I suggested to Alex that we should organize an online petition, remembering that a similar petition forced British Airways a couple years ago to back off similar plan.
And so the petition was created, called SAY NO TO NEW AIR FRANCE / KLM LUGGAGE RULE! and quickly gathered more than 1000 signatures in a matter of days. We are now at 1787 signatures and counting.
And today, guess what, Alex received a nice official letter in French from Air France, which was a pleasure to translate (I usually do this for all other F-One stuff but with definitely less enthusiasm) and here it is:
I have read your letter (i.e our petition) concerning the rules for transporting sports equipment and we thank you for it.
It is well known that large size luggage require expensive handling processes, hence the current policy.
However, in order to better attract sporting customers, the Air France-KLM group is preparing to change the rules governing the treatment of sports equipment.
In a few weeks, all sports equipment should be considered a classic checked baggage and will be exempted from surcharge.
On the number of free baggage according to booking class and weight, you will find details on the site http://www.airfrance.us.
Be sure that we make every effort to make life easier for our clients and athletes I hope that you’ll pass on this information, as you suggest in your letter.
Please accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration
Let’s make sure they do what they say they will do but I believe that the power of 1587 kitesurfers pushed the largest airlines company in the world, i/e Air France / KLM to back off its plan and just for that, I feel pretty good today. Although I must add a personal note that my mom who is patiently waiting from that very same company to give her a seat on a flight from San Francisco to Paris is not really having the same feeling, like thousands of stranded passengers around the world trying to get back home, because of mother nature somewhere in Iceland decided to.