Moral Low Ground


Hidden Airline Fees Trap Terri Weissinger in San Francisco Airport for Eight Days

A California woman looking to begin a new life in Idaho had her plans delayed for eight hellish days because she was hit with hidden airline fees she was unable to afford.

According to the Huffington Post and ABC 7, Terri Weissinger of Sonoma packed up and headed to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) where she planned on boarding a U.S. Airways flight to Idaho to start anew. When she arrived at the ticket counter to check her luggage, she was told she’d have to pay an extra $60 for her second bag. She’d booked her trip on Orbitz before a new federal law requiring such sites to disclose all hidden fees, and with only $30 to her name, Weissinger found herself in a tight spot.

She offered to pay the $60 after she arrived in Idaho. The airline refused, explaining it was against company policy. She offered to leave one of her bags behind. Again, U.S. Airways said no, this time citing security regulations.

While she tried to resolve her problem, Weissinger missed her plane. That would cost her an additional $150 in change fees.

Distraught, Weissinger hunkered down in SFO, a pleasant enough place for a layover of a few hours. But she would call the airport home for the next eight days. She slept in a stairwell. She visited the airport medical clinic, where she was treated for anxiety. She begged airport officials for help, but they threatened to arrest her for vagrancy.

Eventually, Weissinger was saved by divine intervention… sort of. A local church– the Airport Church of Christ– raised $210 for Weissinger after she called them and desperately pleaded for assistance.

ABC 7’s “7 On Your Side” asked U.S. Airways for comment on Weissinger’s shocking ordeal. “We have apologized to Ms. Weissinger for her experience, but unfortunately are unable to offer a refund,” the airline replied. “When you purchase a non-refundable ticket, you accept the terms and conditions. If a passenger cannot travel with their bags, they need to make other arrangements.”

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  1. LindaNovember 3, 2011 at 12:53 pmReply

    I know if I was at that airport and saw Terri and heard of her situation I would of did what I could to help out. I cannot believe there was noone who would help this women out…Terri I do hope you made it to where you were going and Life is treating you good.. Linda.

  2. WIRENUT,NJNovember 3, 2011 at 3:36 pmReply


    • Brett WilkinsNovember 3, 2011 at 4:22 pmReplyAuthor

      I think she’s gotten to her destination, but if she’s out there and reading this, perhaps she could tell you herself?

  3. TomNovember 4, 2011 at 12:39 amReply

    Sorry you’re wrong. The baggage fees of airlines have been around now for about five years now. These fees are not hidden. There were many, many, many reports on television, the net, etc.. As a travel agency booking agent I advise every person booking a flight that baggage fees are charged directly by the airlines and are not covered by the fare. Am I out-raged? No but I do feel empathy for this woman during this economy. Airline airport employees can and will be terminated for not following the rules period. They have no flexibility and the airlines are not flexible. What is more sad is her friends bailed on her. It’s good a Christian organization stepped up for her. I wish her well in her new life.

  4. ProphethalNovember 13, 2011 at 10:07 pmReply

    Tom you are a low life blood sucking scum, the kind that takes bread from the poor. Being minion for the heartless corporations suite you.

    The poor woman was misled by fraudulent airlines who should be boycotted and forced to close down.

    What’s the point of asking customers not to ditch their bags if they can’t pay for them. That crap about company policy just doesn’t stick because she could have emptied it for security to see that there was no bomb in it.

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