27.7.15

WHEN THE INDUSTRY CATCHES ON.

People respond to incentives.  Does it come as any surprise that, when airlines impose baggage-checking fees, that passengers will attempt to cram their stuff into the overhead bins?
The dirty little secret, dear reader, is that with the airlines charging to stow your baggage in the hold, the dominant strategy especially for frequent travellers who have repackaged their toiletries according to the latest security ukases, is to bring along the largest possible carry-on, or even a slightly over-size carry-on, because the good folks at the ramp will stow your stuff, as the cartel's statement notes, free of charge.  Thus you avoid the stowage fee yet get your stuff stowed below.
Peter Hannaford of The American Spectator notices.
Charging for bags became standard procedure in 2008 for most airlines (Southwest is an exception) when they figured it could contribute to the profits that had long eluded them.

Human nature being what it is, more people then decided to tote their bags aboard. Alas, many aircraft don’t have enough bin space. For example, the 737-900 has 180 seats but only bin space for 125 roll-on bags. Result: a last-minute rush before takeoff for flight attendants to tag the surplus bags for stowage in the cargo bay.

At a recent symposium, Virgin America’s CEO David Cush said, “We give away the most valuable space on the airplane—the overhead bin (but) we charge for the least expensive space—the belly.” A simple solution would be to reverse this arrangement. It would reduce hectic bin stuffing and chaos just before takeoff. If that is too radical for the airlines, another solution would be to forego some of their now solid profits and drop charges for checked bags.
D'oh!  (Although having the purser collecting rent for the use of the overhead space is just another way to make loading and unloading an aircraft more painful.)

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