Jun132017

Be Aware Level Airlines $85 checked bag fee

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 booking-1

Level flights are Iberia coded flights.

After contact details, the ‘Purchase Summary’ includes two links for baggage:

  • 1 Adult

Outbound: Lowest fare

Level-2 bag notes

Click the In Hold baggage link “For a fee” and this pop up appears on the page:

Level-3

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:

Level-4

“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

Level-5

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.

Iberia Airlines Additional Bag fees link

Level 6

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

Level-7

So, why did my checked bag cost $85?

Over the weekend I added one checked bag for $44 to my Level ticket purchase.

Level-8 $44 bag

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”.

Level-9

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.

Level-10

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.

Level-11

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.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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Comments

  1. Ric, thanks for this information. I’m flying LEVEL in three weeks and have also had an extremely difficult time finding a wide variety of information. It seems like the website https://www.flylevel.com/your_journey/ is very clear that your first hand baggage on a “LEVEL” fare is $44 USD and additional bags are $85 USD. Have you reached out to LEVEL regarding this discrepancy?

    One other thing to watch out for is that if you purchase a seat at the time of booking, it’s impossible to change your seat after you have purchased it. Additionally, I haven’t been able to find a way to “manage” my reservation. When I click on the “Online Check-in/Manage Reservation” link and enter my details, I am presented with an error that I cannot Check-in until 24 hours prior to my flight.

    Luckily I am only planning to travel with hand baggage so should be able to avoid the baggage fees from what I can tell.

  2. Ric,

    To see if I undestand you correclyt, the cost of the hand baggage is US$44 and the checked bagged is US$85?

  3. One checked bag on Level costs $85 for one way flight.

    Seat assignment is $17 middle seat on 2-4-2 aircraft and $33 for all window and aisle seats.

    One larger carry on bag flies free and one personal bag like laptop, purse, etc.

    Forget fact website states $44 for first checked bag. Oakland supervisor told me that is incorrect. He also said First checked bag should be $100 to align with Iberia fees.

    So first checked bag may become even more expensive for Level flights in near future.

  4. From what I’ve read, though we are finding how unreliable that may be, the hand baggage allowance is the same as an Iberia flight. One bag that is 56x45x25mm and one personal item?

    What then would extra hand baggage be purchasing?

  5. Please file a DOT complaint so this is recorded and addressed.

    I filed a complaint because of NO baggage fees listed on launch date, and they replied well after 30 days stating that I had simply missed the information during the booking process. Does not instill much confidence in LEVEL & Iberia at all.

  6. Ric,

    I had this same problem, but at the airport. We weren’t sure if we were going to check a bag. Showed up at PUJ expenting to pay $55 for first check-in bag at airport. Everyone in front of us was being made to pay $85. When I questioned them and showed that the website chart, they said they had everyone had been complaining of the same but they go by what the system automatically says. Me and a fellow passenger pushed the issue and they came up with a different excuse: the $55 does not include airport “fees” which are added at PUJ. The passenger next to me told them that was nowhere in the fine print and flatout refused to pay $85. After a good while they conceded and charged him the $55 (maybe its $50?) and I followed suit 🙂

    So, not sure if this is a system glitch, because if you paid $85 while checking in online, then I should’ve been quoted more at the airport.

    By the way, they were also quoting something like $200 for the second checked bag

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