Mar 102014

According to a US Airways customer service agent in Phoenix, “US Airways does not charge for the first checked bag on international flights. Flights from the US to Mexico and Canada are NOT considered international flights because they do not cross water.”

This statement was made in response to a query regarding a charge of US$25.00 for a single checked bag on a flight from Guadalajara to Phoenix, following a Geo-Mexico fact-finding trip to Jalisco.

Hmm… does this mean no passports required? Does this mean that Canada, the USA and Mexico share a common currency, language and government. Me thinks not!

Defining “international” as requiring the crossing of water actually gave me a vivid flashback to my early days teaching in the Caribbean, where I discovered, to my great surprise, that some students had a similar idea. Because they knew that different Caribbean islands were (generally) different countries, they assumed that all countries were islands. In one extreme case, a student colored the political boundaries between all the countries of South America blue, justifying this by saying that each country was an island and must have water separating it from the next country!

Fortunately, the customer service agent’s interpretation of international is not echoed by the airline’s own webpage about Baggage Policies. In the circumstances, perhaps US Airways should consider upgrading its training programs for its customer service staff. Geo-Mexico would be pleased to assist.

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