Low cost carrier Level Airlines seems intentionally vague about the cost for a checked bag on a California to Barcelona flight. Their opaque messaging on the Iberia website almost cost me a $100 airport checked bag fee. Instead, I learned the cost of one checked bag is $85 one way when purchased online.
Finding precise checked bag information was far more challenging than I have ever experienced with an airline ticket purchase.
Iberia’s website actually sells the Level ticket without the option to include a checked bag before hitting the purchase confirmation with your credit card data. I am sure I am not the first passenger flying on Level to learn the cost of one checked bag is $85 and not $44 as it appears to be when researching bag fees.
LEVEL Oakland to Barcelona
Level Airlines launched nonstop service between Barcelona and California June 2017 with two routes: Los Angeles LAX and Oakland OAK.
I purchased two tickets Oakland to Barcelona one way on March 18, 2017 when there was a $149.10 introductory ticket price. The one way back from Barcelona to Oakland was even lower at $106. But I made different flight arrangements to get home.
Loyalty Traveler – On the Level $255 round trip Oakland to Barcelona (March 18, 2017).
In my original article on Level Airlines, I showed screen shots of the checked bag price for Level Economy at $44.
Iberia Airlines and Level lack of transparency for cost of checked bag on California – Barcelona flights.
Iberia Airlines operates the aircraft used for Level flights. Managing the Level airline booking is through the Iberia website.
One thing I learned working on the Iberia website is there are many different rules for Level flights and it can be hard to determine which rules apply.
I had a significant problem with my payment for one checked bag.
After trying a couple of dummy bookings for Level flights yesterday, I see the problem is due more to the Iberia website than my ignorance of flying Level.
Here are a series of screenshots to clarify reasons why I accuse Iberia and Level of a lack of transparency that, in my opinion, borders on checked bag fee extortion for the unsuspecting consumer.
Level (IB 2622)
$249.10 one way Oakland – Barcelona
Sunday October 22, 2017
Level flights are Iberia coded flights.
After contact details, the ‘Purchase Summary’ includes two links for baggage:
- 1 Adult
Outbound: Lowest fare
Click the In Hold baggage link “For a fee” and this pop up appears on the page:
The weight and size dimensions appear. The pop up window could not be expanded to full screen in my browser.
Scrolling down shows this section for America flights:
“Flights to/from America – You can check in one standard piece.”
However, scroll down to the next section on flights to Africa/Middle East to see this asterisk fine print.
* On IB26XX flights, the “LEVEL” fare does not include the extra baggage allowance
Two issues here:
1. The IB26xx Level message is under the Africa bag fees section, not America.
2. The IB26xx Level message is not a clickable link.
The consumer still does not have a clue about the cost of one checked bag.
A third issue is this IB26xx pop-up consistently resulted in my browser freezing.
This Iberia page finally has a link to Level 26xx bag fees, if you ever find this page.
Economy Level First Bag purchase Online: €40/USD44
So, why did my checked bag cost $85?
Over the weekend I added one checked bag for $44 to my Level ticket purchase.
All clear for my flight, or so I thought. When I printed out my boarding pass, the boarding pass showed in large print:
Boarding Pass – “Checked Baggage Not Included”
I went back to my email received from Iberia with the title
Email – “Confirmation of Extra Baggage Purchase”.
Once again, the fine print fooled me. The box at the bottom of the email in small print states:
When the charge to your credit card has been confirmed, we will send you a new email with the ticket information or contact us: 1-800-772-4642
(english) 8:00 – 24:00 Lt. Monday to Sunday.
I never received an email confirmation for my checked bag purchase and my credit card was not charged.
If not for the Boarding Pass big print stating I had no checked bag, I would have arrived at the airport not realizing there was any problem.
The initial email I received showed my additional $44 bag.
My $85 checked bag.
Back to the Iberia site and check-in ‘manage booking’ to find the actual cost of one checked bag is $85 online.
The reason I went into such great detail on Level checked bag fees is my dummy bookings yesterday showed me that consumers buy their tickets without ever seeing the cost for a checked bag. Diligent consumers who research bag fees probably conclude the cost for one checked bag is $44.
But, you will find the real cost is $85 for one checked bag.
In my opinion, this kind of flight marketing is consumer extortion.
$85 is not the highest bag fee I have seen for a low cost carrier. But, Level Airline bag fees are the least transparent extra charge I have ever seen for a low cost carrier ticket.
And I have flown a lot of low cost carrier flights with WOW, Norwegian, EasyJet, Wizz and Ryanair.