Last summer I calculated we paid about 40% more for low cost flights on airlines like Norwegian, Ryanair and Wizz by adding the price for one checked bag on each of my wife’s tickets. Kelley’s argument for a checked bag was she could not possibly bring sufficient cosmetics when limited to 100 ml containers in a single one liter bag.
In addition to the liquids challenge, this trip also imposed a weight challenge with our SAS GoLight economy ticket from Oslo, Norway to San Francisco. SAS GoLight meant her carryon bag had to remain at 8kg/18lb limit for the bag weight restriction on this fare type. She also had two flights on Norwegian limiting her to 10kg in combined weight for her carryon bag and an underseat bag for those flights.
The liquids issue was solved by packing one of her one liter bags of cosmetics in my carryon. That was simple enough.
The weight issue proved more challenging.
Norwegian Oakland to Paris $200.00 one way
Kelley was cursing at me by text after her check in experience in Oakland. The check in desk agent made her place both of her bags on the scale and said she had way too much weight for the flight. The agent said she would let her fly this time without making her check her carryon bag, but she had better check her bag if returning to the USA on Norwegian.
No checked bag fee to Paris. $45 saved.
She received an aisle seat for the long haul flight to Paris. No prepaid seat reservation to Paris. $45 saved.
Beers and a Fish & Chips meal at Oakland Airport while she texted me a string of nasty notes about how angry she was to be flying alone and not have a window seat — additional $52 expense.
I had flown to SFO to Copenhagen one day earlier on SAS as the return flight of a ticket from Stockholm to SFO earlier in the month. Elite miles from my SAS flight qualified my Aegean Miles+Bonus account for Star Alliance Gold elite upgrade.
Kelley flew Czech Airlines Paris CDG to Prague. I purchased Czech Plus ticket fare which includes one checked bag and seat selection.
I knew from experience that Czech only allows one 8kg carryon bag in the cabin on low fare Czech Lite tickets. No personal bag. Last year I paid a 35 EUR checked bag fee at airport check-in on my Czech Airlines Lite ticket when I showed up with my normal carry on bag and backpack.
I recognized Kelley’s personal bag problem immediately when I saw her packed bag as we readied to fly Prague to Oslo on Norwegian the following week. The issue was more about how big her bag looked with a pair of shoes and a vest and scarves inside. The weight was 5kg, the same as my backpack.
However, her Longchamps bag has no restrictive form and loose items spread out to make the bag appear heavy and too large to fit under the seat. Although, its free-form means it would most likely fit into a bag size carrier where the container forces the bag into a restricted shape.
Technically the rule is 10kg weight limit combined weight for carryon bag and personal bag in the cabin. My bags have never been weighed in 20 or so flights on Norwegian with a carryon bag and a backpack I place under the seat.
I took a pair of shoes from her bag and placed them in my under seat backpack for the flight to Oslo. Plus, we had printed boarding passes for the Norwegian Oslo flight and went directly to the airport gate. No problem with our bags on Norwegian.
Norwegian Prague to Oslo one way on LowFare ticket. 25 EUR saved each compared to LowFare+.
Norwegian LowFare+ includes one free checked bag, one carryon bag and free seat selection. Kelley got her window seat anyway and I sat next to her in the middle of the 3-3 configured 737-800 aircraft.
I thought Kelley had made an extravagant purchase when she paid $100 for her Longchamps bag from the Dutyfree cart while flying British Airways First Class on an award flight to London in 2000. After 19 years of use, that bag is the longest lasting travel bag we have owned. She always flies with it. I have even taken it as my under seat bag on some of my solo international trips.
SAS Oslo-Copenhagen-San Francisco
GoLight Economy with 8kg carry on bag + personal under seat bag
8kg/18lb is just light enough to make it far more challenging than 10kg.
While we managed these SAS GoLight flights without paying 25EUR for SAS GoSmart with checked bag, I think that weight limit is challenging for an extended trip to Europe. The GoSmart ticket price was 25 EUR more each way, whereas adding one checked bag to an SAS GoLight ticket to the USA is $60 one way.
Next time I will likely fly Kelley on an SAS GoSmart ticket to allow her to pack to her desires.
What SAS means
I finally learned what SAS stands for when I saw an aircraft in Copenhagen featuring the entire airline name spelled out on the side – Scandinavian Airlines System. I had never given the acronym SAS much thought and assumed it was an acronym for the airline name in one of the Nordic languages.