Category Archives: airline biz

Baggage fees on wrong type of luggage?

While traveling this weekend, I started thinking why airlines don’t charge for carry-on baggageinstead of checked baggage.  Carry-on baggage imposes much more burden on others in the travel experience, and it makes sense to incentivize people NOT to carry on their bags.

 

First of all, carrying on your bag (vs. checking your bag) is a privilege which people place value on.  Despite the inconvenience of hauling your bag around the airport, carrying your bag allows you to save time, because you don’t have to wait at baggage claim at your destinatoin.  Carrying your bag also virtually negates the chances of your bag being lost or delayed by the airline.

 

The downside of carrying on are that you have to get your bag through security and drag it everywhere with you.  By incentivizing people to carry-on their bags, the airlienes are exacerbating these downsides.  To avoid paying for checked baggage, more and more people now try to bring a fully stuffed bag with everything they need through security checkpoints, which adds time and hassle in the security checkpoint screening process.  Also, as people try to board, they have to figure out where to put these bags, theuy stall the boarding process while they try to fit their oversized bags into the luggage bins, and invariably, overhead space always runs out on full flights.

 

Basically, incentivizing people to bring overstuffed carry-ons is a drag on the whole process, and it’d be better if more bags were checked at the counter.  When the liquid ban first went into effect, I remember reading articles about how flight attendants were relieved at how much less carry-on baggage there was.  We could partially restore this state by charging for carry-ons and allowing at least one free checked bag…

 

Of course there should be some exemptions.  People traveling with children (particularly infants) have to carry some items, as well as those with medical needs/medication.  One way might be to still allow one free “personal item” or perhaps just allow only one carry-on, be it a personal item or carry-on bag.  And of course, there should be some exemption for elite members, as there is with checked baggage currently.

 

The other side of this issue is enforceability.  How would airlines make sure people actually pay for carry-ons?  One possible model is to look to the rest of the world.  In other countries, particularly with discount airlines, airlines charge for all your and checked bags according to their weight.  Airlines and TSA would have to find some way of tagging things to indicate that they have been cleared for carry-on, and do this in a way that isn’t too easy to scam.
Overall, I think the benefits of figuring out a way of charging for checked baggage instead of carry-on would be beneficial for the travel experience.  Listen up airlines!

Posts about predictions for 2012

There’s been a couple of posts by other bloggers about 2012 predictions.  They’re interesting reads, so I wanted to link them here.

Lucky of One Mile At a Time has posted his predictions…interesting stuff, particularly about what AA might do in bankruptcy with their systemwide upgrades (rats, just as I am planning to go for EXP) and hotel promotions.

Frugal Travel Guy also offers some predictions for the new year.  Some of them are serious and some lighthearted.

Impact of change in the airline business

It’s interesting to consider and to witness how business moves impact our decisions as frequent flyers.  For example, all of AA’s recent promotions are attempting to retain their existing customers and draw in new ones while the company goes through bankruptcy (more on that later).  Another example is the bidding war that is going on (post courtesy of Lufthansa Flyer at Boarding Area) for an airline that is obscure to most people, bmi (British Midland International).  bmi is the second largest airline at London Heathrow (LHR), and a member of Star Alliance.  In the past month, British Airways was set to purchase bmi from Lufthansa, which would’ve strengthened BA’s hold at LHR, and removed bmi from Star Alliance.

Now, apparently Virgin Atlantic has joined the fray for bmi.  If Virgin were to win, this would be interesting for several reasons.   For one, Star Alliance would be able to maintain a decent presence at LHR.  Second, Virgin has been rumored to be looking to join an alliance, and this merger would pave the way for them to join the Star Alliance (they already have partnerships with 9 Star Alliance airlines, and they are 49% owned by fellow *A airline Singapore Airlines).  So it will be interesting to see how this plays out…

bmi is/was a favorite among some frequent flyers due to their 600-mile minimum segments as well as a generous redemption chart.  It will be interesting to see how things play out with all this…