Those of you who know me well know that I almost always write upbeat blog posts and one of those will follow I guarantee. In the meantime can you bear with me and possibly even help me.
Is it fair for an Airline to ask for £350 in excess baggage when the baggage is for charity in a poverty stricken country? Isn’t this just a little obscene when the item does not cost even half that amount and weighs only 12kg? Doesn’t it defeat the object of giving when you have to pay someone else to do so?
This is our current situation. Can you help?
In just over four weeks I am visiting Cambodia.
My visit will include working at several charities. One of those is Medical Cambodia. This organisation spends much time searching for medical equipment for Siem Reap’s Referral Hospital. Donations are often made from different parts of the world and then taken by anyone who is travelling to the country on holiday or business. I am one of them. The supplies that have been donated and which we wish to take are to improve the health and safety of the staff in the hospital. A donation of 50 pairs of plastic shoes will provide protection for the staff who are not able to afford any alternative to their open sandals, from needles and bodily fluids and the resulting risk of infection of hepatitis, Aids and other blood transmitted diseases. Medical Cambodia have searched extensively and similar shoes cannot be purchased within Cambodia, hence the importance of us taking them.
We are also wishing to take donated clothes and toys to an Orphanage in Siem Reap Cambodia. The children of this Orphanage can be read about here.
We are flying with Air France. I realise we should have checked in advance that Air France would allow some dispensation on the size of the baggage when regarding charitable items. However we didn’t. We have never encountered a problem before and Medical Cambodia has received numerous donations in the past, and no airline has refused any request for an extension on baggage weight or size.
We applied for an extension and were immediately refused. After much negotiations where Air France would not back down we were then emailed that we would be allowed only the usual 20% discount only to have this withdrawn when they realised we did not have a direct flight. No amount of pleading has helped.
They say NO.
We cannot give them £350. It is the principle not the money. I would rather give £350 to the Orphanages and hospitals there. But for Air France to take money from us before it will allow us to put our charity goods onto their plane is nothing short of extortion. It makes a mockery of charity. They are basically making money from a poverty stricken country.
The piece of additional baggage that they wish to charge us £350 for is one large box weighing only 12kilo and measures 42x74x66 cm in size. This is what they arguing with us about…
If you disagree with them and agree with us, here is how you can help.
1) Tweet on Twitter ‘@airfrance u should be ashamed. Allow @lyndarenham to take additional charitable baggage for a reasonable cost to Cambodia #badairline’
2) Go their Facebook page and state the same there http://www.facebook.com/airfrance?fref=ts
3) Or email Air France and simply cut and past the below text to The General Manager. firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Please would you allow Lynda Renham-Cook and Dr Andrew Cook to take essential medical items to Cambodia on 15th March without charging them extortionate extra baggage rates? We feel this is disgraceful.’