Heavy going

Last time I told you guys about my trip to New Zealand. We had an amazing time down there and I think I learned some things that can help me not to tilt as much in the future.

One thing I didn't tell you about was how I was almost on tilt before I even arrived there. I was traveling to Macau from Paris with two large suitcases. Having that many bags is normal for me. It's a fact of life when you spend as much time on the road as I do. ElkY usually travels with three suitcases.

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The only time I travel this light is on a day hike

This time around I was flying on the Taiwanese airline, EVA Airways. My itinerary called for me to fly through Taiwan on my way to New Zealand. When I got to the airport in Paris, the EVA check-in agent asked me how many bags I was checking in. I told her two; she said I'd have to pay a charge for the second bag.

The way airlines work these days, there's almost always a fee for the extra bag. That fee is usually about $100 or maybe $150 at most. I think of it as a cost of doing business, a cost of the lifestyle that I am lucky enough to lead. I told the agent it was not a problem and asked how much the fee would be.

"47 Euros per kilo," she said.

My jaw dropped. My second bag weighed about 20 kilos. The excess baggage charge came to over 900 Euros.

I was furious. For that price I could fly a second person to Taiwan with me! I tried to see if it was cheaper to upgrade my seat and get a better baggage allowance but the only option was Premium Economy, which didn't solve my baggage problem. The gate agent's only suggestion was that I could ship the second suitcase, but that wasn't a practical solution.

To make it even worse, the credit card reader that the check-in agent had at her desk wasn't working. It couldn't read any of my cards. They had to take me to a back office to process the charge. It was taking so long that I started to get nervous that I'd miss my flight because they were so worried about charging me.

It was a huge hassle. In the end they made me promise that I'd pay the charge when I got to Taiwan. And they didn't just rely on that promise - they had someone meet me at the door of the airplane when I landed in Taiwan to make sure I wouldn't try to run away.

Before they opened the door, one of the flight attendants announced on the plane's PA system, "Eugene Katchalov, please see the flight attendant."

I felt so stupid, like I had just taken $1,000 and lit it on fire. I wanted to disappear into my seat but there wasn't anything I could do except man up and pay the fee.

I try not to let things like this get to me. My dad always said, "These things stink and you feel like you're getting screwed but getting upset about it won't make things any better. You can't change it. You just have to make the best of the situation." That's what I tried to do.

It's too bad. The airline itself was great. Everything was convenient and the flight was fine. But the excess baggage policy shocked me. The only time I'll fly EVA in the future is if I don't have any other option.

And in that case, I'll make sure I only have one bag.

Eugene Katchalov is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

Eugene Katchalov
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