The Baggage Fee With A Twist. And How to Avoid The Fee Altogether

The Twist: Alaska Airlines Will Give You $20 (credit) if Your Checked Bag Does NOT Reach the Carousel in 20 Minutes.

Alaska Airlines passengers will be subject to new baggage fees starting Wednesday.

"Get your pizza in 20 minutes, or it's free. Oh wait, meant bag. I must be hungry"

Customers checking one bag will be charged $20 per bag — $5 more for the first bag than previously charged, but $5 and $30 less for the second and third bags, respectively.

Seattle-based parent company Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK), which also includes Horizon Air, also introduced a guarantee that if a passenger’s luggage is not at baggage claim 20 minutes after the flight parks at the gate customers may choose 2,000 miles through the company’s mileage plan or $20 off a future flight.

Alaska is Hawaii’s ninth-largest airline, according to PBN research. In 2009, the company flew 600,000 passengers between Hawaii and the Mainland.

Read more: Pacific Business News (Honolulu)

Fee Avoidance: Carry Your Bag To The Gate and There’s a Good Chance It Flies For Free

At least, that’s what I’m observing with my carrier (not Alaska). Since flights are full, and passengers are packing more than ever before into that one allowable carry-on, gate agents are looking to reduce the number of last minute baggage problems at the gate, and the possibility of a delayed departure.

More agents are pro-actively asking passengers to check their bags “free of charge”. They’re seeking “volunteers” to come forward and have bags checked free to your final destination. A sweet deal, which also significantly reduces the chances your bag will be misplaced prior to being loaded onto the plane,  unlike passengers who did pay a fee and checked their bag more than an hour ago at the front of the airport.

For the passengers who did pay in advance for your checked baggage (like the airline most certainly wants you too) aren’t you a little steamed that a good percentage of your fellow travelers checked their bags for free at the gate? Shouldn’t you be getting something extra for paying the fee?

Oh, and on some flights passengers are forced to check their bag (free) plane-side by an overly aggressive gate agent during the later part of the boarding process. Once on board, passengers discover plenty of available overhead bin space for their carry-on’s. Too late, they’ve just been fooled into thinking the bins were already full. They’re now trapped inside, and their bag is outside. Separation anxiety has begun. Add this to the list with the other air travel anxieties, and we’ve got yet another ‘hot mess’ on our hands!

In this situation, guess who catches the heat?  Yep, me standing in aisle trying to get through another boarding process unscathed.

What a fee-asco, the airline baggage fee!

“We hope you enjoy your flight” ~ Martha (on the outside)

“What’s to enjoy?” ~ inner Martha

2 comments for “The Baggage Fee With A Twist. And How to Avoid The Fee Altogether

  1. Jim n AZ
    June 24, 2010 at 9:44 am

    As for gate checking your bag… Some airports can and are stopping you b4 security checkpoint and sending back to the tkt cntr to recheck your bag that appears too big for carry-on. This is done by airline or airport employees not the TSA.

  2. June 24, 2010 at 10:18 am

    As they should! The oversize & overweight should be checked out front. I speak of anything passengers currently carry on-board, you know, trying to save a few bucks.

Comments are closed.