SFO can be a miserable enough airport to be in without dealing with security or pesky fees, but both of those things kept Teri Weissinger stuck in the airport for eight days. As ABC7 reports, the Sonoma County woman was broke and leaving for Idaho to start a new life. She had nothing but a ticket and $30, which Weissinger assumed would be more than enough to get her there.

In a perfect storm of confusion Weissinger, who flew last time without facing checked baggage fees, purchased a ticket on Orbitz before a federal rule took effect in April forcing carriers like Orbitz to disclose hidden fees.

Add to that $60 in baggage fees ($25 for one bag, $35 for another), and Weissinger was stuck.

She tells ABC7 that she asked if she could pay when she got to Idaho, but no dice. They wouldn’t let her leave one bag behind, either, for security reasons.

Consequently, she missed her flight, which meant $150 in change fees, on top of the baggage fees. After a night of being stranded in SFO and sleeping in a stairway, things only got worse when US Airways said that she had to book a new flight, at around $1,000.

Weissinger says she was trapped and, as she describes “tired, hungry, dirty” from the endeavor. She was treated for anxiety at the airport’s medical clinic but as soon as she asked authorities for help was almost hauled in for vagrancy.

It took donations from the parishioners of “The Airport Church of Christ” to pay the $210 in fees and help get Weissinger to Idaho.

US Airways’ official statement to ABC7 was: “We have apologized to Ms. Weissinger for her experience, but unfortunately are unable to offer a refund. When you purchase a non-refundable ticket, you accept the terms and conditions. If a passenger cannot travel with their bags, they need to make other arrangements.”

According to ABC7, US Airways has airlines have made $1.4 billion in fees for checked baggage and ticket changes in just 3 short months.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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