American Airlines is defending one of its agents after a Canadian passenger accused the airline worker of discrediting the sport of curling and attempting to charge her more for her checked baggage.
Erin McInrue Savage, a Canadian lawyer based in California, was flying from Phoenix to San Francisco with her curling team earlier this month when an American Airlines agent allegedly declined to let her check her curling broom under the airline’s standard sports equipment policy.
McInrue Savage documented the incident in an Oct. 13 Facebook post that has since gone viral, saying the agent told her “curling equipment ‘is not sports equipment.”
“She did, however, tell me that curling must not be a sport … and certainly that it ‘isn’t an elite sport, like golf,’ because if it were we’d be fine to check through normally,” McInrue Savage described in the post.
McInrue Savage told the Washington Post that the agent tried to charge her US$150 to check her oversize sports bag, a steep increase from the standard $25 fee for checked baggage.
The company’s website outlines specific fees for a variety of sports equipment on their website, including hang gliders, hockey gear, and archery, but does not outline charges for curling equipment.
After an eight-minute exchange with the agent, McInrue Savage was able to check the bag containing her curling broom after removing items and duct taping the ends to make it more compact.
The airline responded to the incident in a statement Tuesday.
“We all agree that curling is a sport, and our colleague in Phoenix never stated that curling was ‘not a sport,'” a spokesman told the Washington Post. “Our colleague is a former gymnast and coach, and has great respect for all athletes.”
McInrue Savage, who curls at the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club, alleged the agent wished she would never fly with the airline again.
The company has denied the allegation.
McInrue Savage’s original Facebook post was deleted from the company for including a photo of the agent and her name badge, which violated the platform’s policies.
McInrue Savage has since re-posted her story with a redacted image.
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.