When President Clinton testified in front of a grand jury he suggested that his truthfulness depended on the meaning of the word ‘is’.
It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement
Precise words matter in a courtroom and — it seems — when checking bags with American Airlines.
Checked baggage fees can be complicated.
- For instance audio visual equipment can be checked at a discount if you’re a member of the media.
- Most sports equipment counts as standard checked baggage for fee purposes, but golf equipment costs $42.50 to check on Brazil flights.
- One hockey stick and one hockey bag count as one piece of luggage.
- And one ski bag and a ski boot bag are together just one piece of luggage… but cost $28.05 on Brazil flights.
Here’s the question: Is curling a sport? And is that up to the Olympics or your American Airlines gate agent?
Granted I’m not really a fan of curling, myself, sliding stones on a sheet of ice towards a target.
Erin McInrue Savage is. And she got into a disagreement with American Airlines on the subject. She claims American Airlines wanted to charge her $150 to check her curling broom because it’s oversized, and she wanted to pay $25 “the standard fee for an excess sports equipment bag.”
She claims, though, that “[The agent] said curling isn’t a sport,”
“[The agent] said it wasn’t an ‘elite’ sport like golf,” McInrue Savage recalled, noting that even after giving the customer service agent a history lesson about curling’s origins, as well as offering to demonstrate how the brooms worked by unpacking them, the agent only relented slightly.
…McInrue Savage said after about an eight-minute exchange, the agent finally agreed to allow her to pay the $25 standard sports baggage fee, but not without resistance. McInrue Savage said the agent ended their exchange by telling her, “I hope you never fly American Airlines again.”
Here’s the thing. I can’t find anything in American’s baggage rules suggesting that if curling were a ‘real’ sport her oversized equipment would cost just $25. The passenger says that’s what her teammates were charged on their outbound flight — on another airline.
And even if there was a disagreement over checked baggage, I don’t see why the agent would have told the customer not to buy tickets on the airline again.
American spokesperson Ross Feinstein, for his part, said that American Airlines agrees “that curling is a sport,” that the check-in agent happens to be a former gymnast and coach, and charged the correct oversized sporting equipment rate of $150 — and that if it ‘wasn’t sporting equipment’ the amount would have been $200.
In this case sporting equipment meant a lower baggage fee, the particular merits of curling notwithstanding.