It’s peak holiday time and that means lugging heavy bags around with you. Community member Ian asks whether a luggage courier service can help make the journey to your destination an easier ride
Going on holiday should be a wonderful experience. But we seem to travel with more and bigger cases these days, yet the spaces for the cases on buses, in cars and on trains hasn’t really changed in years.
For some time, now, we’ve used a luggage courier service – specifically, Send My Bag – and the service it offers seemed to promise a great deal: your luggage would be collected from your house and transported to your holiday destination, so all you’d need when travelling would be a small bag or satchel.
Last year, we decided to travel to Switzerland for 10 days. As we loathe airports, we take the train and, good as Virgin is, lugging on two large cases, finding somewhere to stow them and then collapsing into our seats wasn’t something that we looked forward to.
Send My Bag seemed promising: someone from the company turned up two days before we set off, collected the bags for the first leg of our journey and upon our arrival at the St Pancras Hotel in London, they were waiting for us.
It wasn’t until we were on the second leg of our journey on the Eurostar that we were notified of an excess charge of around £70. When we phoned Send My Bag, we were told it was ‘probably a mistake’ and if we measured the bags when we returned home it could send the information to the couriers, DHL.
We did that, and the charge was dropped, but it left us with an uneasy feeling. Send My Bag wouldn’t cancel the charge itself because, it claimed, DHL was responsible. It stated: ‘DHL will insist Send My Bag pays unless we can prove there has been a mistake.’ Yet our contract was with Send My Bag, which seemed odd to us.
What we found most irritating was that it wasn’t clear on the home page of the company that suitcase size is relevant. It gives a flat rate per bag per journey, and then provides a quote for three different weights. What it doesn’t make clear is that it then calculates it by size as well. You only discover that once you’ve clicked on ‘Book Now’.
What not to pack
There are other issues, too: there’s quite a list of prohibited items, but, in my opinion, this list isn’t easy to find until you’ve completed the order or clicked through to the FAQs and searched the page. Among the items on the list are aerosols, liquids, pastes, gels, perfume, nail varnish, toner cartridges, tobacco, alcohol, money and medication.
Luggage courier services are increasing in number but they share some worrying characteristics. Uni Baggage offers a similar service, but its list of prohibited items is, in my view, even harder to find.
On the face of it, these services seem a good idea. They remove the stress of having to heave a suitcase around busy stations and they collect and deliver door-to-door. But the fact that they fly from a central hub – Birmingham – means there are a lot of things you can’t send, and, as we know, they make mistakes.
And that can easily add more stress than carrying the cases yourself.
This is a guest contribution by community member Ian. All views expressed here are Ian’s own and not necessarily those also shared by Which?.