Reader Andy decided to check his bag curb-side at JFK, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, and the curb-side check-in attendant scammed him out of $15 by promising to sneak his “overweight” bag onto the flight for a “big tip.” Naturally, after the deal was done, Andy realized that his bag probably wasn’t overweight and he’d just been scammed. Now he’s writing in to tell his story so that other consumers can avoid a similar fate.
Around 11:45am on Monday I was headed home to San Diego from JFK. As I arrived to the Jetblue terminal I noticed the lines inside were super long, so for the first time I decided it was worth a $3 fee to take advantage of the curbside check in.
Upon checking in, the attendant took my bag and brought it to the other check in station (if I were actually thinking and anymore paranoid I would have watched him weigh the bag). When he returned he told me my bag was overweight and there is a $50 fee for any baggage over 50lbs. Before I could even respond with “are you kidding me?” he told me he could he get it through if I “gave him a big tip”. I quickly weighed my options and decided the tip option was clearly the way to go. As soon as I told him to go ahead with that option and handed him all the money I had ($15 tip + $3 fee) he took one look at the cash and asked “this is a big tip right?”. He then counted it in front of me and was clearly unstoked with the amount, so I assured him it was all I had. He printed out my boarding pass and I headed to the gate.
As I sat on the flight I felt like A) I had been scammed, and B) it was my own fault. As soon as I got home I weighed the bag and sure enough, 46lbs. The following morning I called Jetblue to file a complaint, and also sent them an email. Their representatives were of course very apologetic and disgusted by the transaction, and promised to look into the situation.
I’d like to get my money back as much as the next guy, but I’m fine with leaving it here. My major issue is that in this day and age where the average traveler is being gouged for everything possible by the airlines, someone else has to take it one step further and take advantage of customers outside of the business bubble.
I wonder how often this happens at every airport? Do I blame the attendant, his employer, or myself?
Desperate times make for desperate measures.
We think everyone deserves a little blame here, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. JetBlue has certainly had its share of low-life scamming employees working at JFK. You only lost $15 and now you’re sharing your story so that others can avoid this scam, and you reported the scammer to his employer. I’m sure that our readers, and JetBlue itself, appreciate your sleuthing!
And, just for those of you who are from out of town and flying through JFK, don’t take anything anyone says at face value when you are in that airport. Stick to the straight and narrow, and if you know Obi Wan Kenobi, ask him if he’d mind picking you up.
(Photo: ellimac )