Extra baggage charges raised on Air Canada

  • Sep. 14, 2005 8:00 a.m.

Starting in a month, fishermen may end up paying $210 in excess baggage for the four spring salmon and two halibut they caught on the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Air Canada has changed its checked baggage rules, with a new policy coming into effect on October 12.
The new policy lowers the weight allowance and raises the cost of bringing an extra piece along, much to the chagrin of a local fish packing plant.
Everyone who flies with Air Canada and comes to the islands to catch fish will be affected says Tom Argue, the manager of Albion/Codfather in Queen Charlotte.
The new weight limit is 50 pounds for each piece of luggage, whereas before a passenger was allowed two 70 pound pieces.
There is a size limit for boxes allowed on the airplane as well, and when packed with processed fish they are 45 pounds, says Mr. Argue.
“In every case, you are into two boxes,” he says of an average fisherman’s bounty.
He doesn’t recommend shipping boxes of fish as cargo either as they are not guaranteed to go on the same plane as the customer.
Many of the lodges suggest people bring only one piece of luggage with them, as that allows them one more piece for the fish they catch. But that can be difficult for travellers who don’t know how to pack light.
Mr. Argue thinks the new charges will not stop people from taking their fish home, but he thinks it will hurt their pocketbooks.
“People will spend a lot of money to come to the Queen Charlotte Islands to fish,” he says.
Right now Air Canada charges $26.75 to bring a third piece of luggage while travelling within North America. Starting October 12, that extra bag will weigh in at $105. If it is over 50 pounds, the price jumps to $140.
The price for overweight bags, within the two piece limit will jump from $26.75 to $35.
Customers flying first class are allowed three bags as always.