Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Second Carry-on Item? That'll be $25, Please

The New York Times claims that soon, economy flyers will have to pay an extra $25 to bring a second carry-on item on airlines like Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, and US Airways. What? Supposedly the move is in an effort to offset the ever-growing fuel costs.

If you ask me, this is a bad move that will probably cause a major backlash from frequent flyers.

First of all, don't we wait long enough in lines at the airport? Now, for every person that has a second bag, we'll have to wait an extra few minutes while he pays his "fee". As The New York Times article points out as well, often times people traveling for business come back with an extra bag of work materials. In my case, for example, this second bag is typically filled with press kits, CDs, product samples, and perhaps a few swag T-shirts. Should the companies now be responsible for paying that extra $25 per person so each can return and do his job? From a consumer perspective, many people (OK, mainly women) often travel with an empty, extra bag to bring back all of their shopping goodies. So, for Canadians, on top of the taxes, we also have to pay $25 more just to bring the stuff we purchased onto the plane with us?

If you have to add more cost to a flight to cover fuel, build it into the final price quietly so that the average customer doesn't realize he's being dinged for it. To outright charge an extra fee to bring a second bag will just lead to a massive uproar.

In defense of the airlines, there's always the option to check that second bag. But I know plenty of people (OK, mostly guys) that pride themselves on traveling "light" with just carry-on: one bag will include a notebook and camera, and the other clothes and shoes. For these guys, traveling light just got $50 more expensive per trip!

Personally, when I'm traveling for business, I usually only have one bag that includes my notebook, digital camera, MP3 player, noise-canceling headphones, a novel, and maybe some magazines. Sometimes, I might also stuff an extra pair of clothes in there just in case (knock on wood) something should happen to my checked baggage. But I also have my purse. Will this be included in the extra $25 fee? I truly hope not. I will also certainly keep this new policy in mind when booking flights going forward. If the price differential between a flight with one of these airlines and another airline that doesn't charge for additional baggage is minimal (anything less than $25), then I'll go with the other, if for no other reason than to make a statement.

Some other bogus charges? Extra leg room is a personal favourite (give me a break), along with the $1 throwaway headphones. Does anyone ever buy those things?

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JET said...

Airlines just SUCK. I'd be much happier if they just jacked up the price and showed the real taxes-in price and stop pretending to have low fairs. You think you have a deal and then they add taxes and god forbid your bag is 51lbs - that'll be another $100.00, skis? - that'll be another $100.00, traveling with a pet? That'll be $250.00 if they let you.

And for all of this you get delayed, a misconnection, lost bags and a stewardess as mean as a snake.

On the last five Air Canada flights I have taken there has been no audio or in flight entertainment. OK so what. How about this, we are flying through Denver from Toronto on our way to California, the plane is late, the stewardess tells us we have 20 minutes to make our connection but the plane has been notified so RUN! Which is what we do, all the way to another terminal. We get to the new gate with 9 minutes to go and the miserable gate keepers tell us we are too late (there were 15 of us getting on that plane). That plane then sat at the gate for 25 minutes, but we couldn't get on. We had to wait for the next plane in four hours. What a miserable industry. I hate carriers. The only pleasant surprise has been a short hop to Montreal on Porter out of the island. Nice and civilized, but give them time, they will get mean too.

Anonymous said...

If I get clipped I'll just say its my european man purse.