Airline Baggage Charges: It’s Customer Abuse
It is my fervent wish that the airline industry, particularly the legacy carriers, becomes abundantly profitable in the not-too-distant future. It is the industry’s wish too, I dare say. The problem, as ever, is the manner in which the airlines hope to attain this elusive status — by once again sticking it to the customer. This week’s chapter involves a move by Delta, quickly copied by Continental, to raise fees for bags checked at the airport to $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second. (It’s $2 less if you check in online.)
Say you’re flying to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from Newark, N.J., next month, and you’ve nailed a $191 plus tax round-trip flight on Continental. Sweet. If you’re traveling solo and light, a carry-on will do the trick. But if you’re not, once you check in a bag, you are adding 13% to the ticket cost; 31% if you add a second bag. If you can’t use a carry-on, you essentially become the victim of a bait and switch tactic, since the airlines never name their baggage fees in the fare quotes you get on Travelocity, Expedia and other travel sites. (See 50 essential travel tips.)
Faced with these after-the-fact fare hikes, it’s no wonder that people get ticked off and drag everything they own onto the plane: laptops, briefcases, suitcases, knapsacks, duffel bags, shopping bags, body bags, guitars, plants, animals, minerals and vegetables. And those are just the first 12 passengers to board. The airlines board people either by rows, back-to-front or according to an algorithm that is devised to spread people and their stuff around the plane in an orderly manner. Except that an algorithm has never rushed the gate the moment a flight is called, because if it were to, I’d throw an elbow. Whatever the sequence, loading the overhead bins on a fully booked airliner is like trying to pull one of your socks over your head while someone else whacks you with a sack of flour.
Presumably, the airlines don’t mind because the change means they need fewer ramp personnel, and now they get paid every time they do handle your bag. In reality, it’s the airline flight crews who are now doing the baggage handling, for no extra wages — and don’t they enjoy it…… continued
Read more: www.time.com