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Bliss N Eso Slam Airline Hypocrisy Over Massive Fees

Bliss N Eso have highlighted what they view as the hypocrisy of Virgin Australia after they were slammed with a $1,750 excess baggage bill on a flight from the Sunshine Coast, where they’d performed as part of the Big Pineapple festival, to Melbourne where they are continuing their tour.

“Shame on you Virgin Australia claiming to support local artists & musicians and then screwing us over with a $1750 excess baggage bill on a one way domestic flight,” reads an angry statement posted to the group’s Facebook page. “Our equipment ended up costing more than the seats!”

The trio post-scripted their missive with the hashtag, #ThisIsWhyWeTryFlyQantas. The “claim” that Bliss N Eso cite presumably refers to a deal struck between Virgin Australia and music industry body The Australian Music Industry Network in 2011, that sought to ease the cost of touring for local artists.

As Music Victoria reported at the time, the terms of the arrangement means members of an approved Australian music industry body are given a baggage allowance of 32kg — across three pieces of checked baggage — for individual artists, with an additional 32kg available for a $15 fee.

Bands are also able to “pool” their baggage allowance across their travelling group. The deal is valid with Virgin Australia-owned and operated domestic services only, and must be booked or pre-purchased at least 48 hours prior to departure. The booking process is outlined at Music Victoria.

There has been no further comment from the Sydney hip-hop trio or from Virgin Australia. It is important to note that the deal between Virgin Australia and The Australian Music Industry Network is subject strictly to the aforementioned conditions and could be voided if an artist fails to meet them.

UPDATE 4:12pm AEDT 21/05/14: Bliss N Eso have issued a follow-up statement on their Facebook page, addressing “all those asking about the Virgin Australia baggage charge.” The group insist that they’re eligible for the baggage allowance and pre-arranged their baggage details with Virgin.

“Yes, we pre-arranged this with Virgin well in advance like we do with all our other flights where we have had no issue,” they write on Facebook. “The point is it could have been dealt with at the airport but instead we have to resort to posting on social media to get a reaction out of them.”

However, FasterLouder report that Bliss N Eso attempted to carry approximately 25 extra pieces of luggage onboard, without adhering to the 48-hour advanced notice period required by the baggage allowance deal. Virgin issued a statement, but would not comment on individual passengers:

“Virgin Australia is proud to support the Australian music industry through a dedicated service team and an increased complimentary baggage allowance, the most accommodating of any Australian carrier.

“This support is offered throughout the airline’s domestic network and has been developed in consultation with industry representatives. To take advantage of this offer, groups are required to request the complimentary allowance at least two business days in advance to ensure we are able to accommodate this request within operational limitations.”

Gallery: Bliss N Eso – Enmore Theatre, Sydney 4/07/2013

Photos by Zoltan Blazer

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