No Bags Allowed

Ah, the UK. A great place to visit but a nightmare for airlines. The government just can’t keep its hands off the industry. In the last year, we’ve seen an expensive new green tax, a strict one-bag carry on limit, and now the possibility of no checked bags at all.

What?

Yep, I saw this article talking about the from airports entirely, and sadly I was hardly surprised.

The plan would involve requiring people to ship their luggage before they travel. This would create a utopian airport with no checked bags and tons of happy people.

Yeah, right.

Where to start . . . how about the cost to the customer? There are some people that already offer this service. , for example, is planning to offer their “cost effective” solution. That’ll run you $70 per bag with a minimum of $85 per pickup. (Um, shouldn’t it just be $140 minimum, then?) The original article mentions First Luggage in the UK with rates starting at GBP49 (yes, that’s just about US$100). With economies of scale achieved from requiring everyone to ship their bags, they say it can be reduced to GBP20 (double that to make it US$40).

Now I’m sure there’s a market for $40 (at best) per bag service, but I’m not it. And I imagine there are a ton of others who aren’t either. So if you make me ship my bag ahead, I’m not going to be happy.

Then there are the logistics to this thing. Save the environment? Not with a huge fleet of delivery trucks clogging up the roads. And how early will they need to pick your bag up in order to have it at your destination? You may not be able to rely on last minute packing anymore.

Supporters say that airplanes not having to take on luggage would reduce the weight of the plane and therefore reduce the cost to fly for you. That could, according to the article, reduce the ticket price by GBP30 (US$60). I think we all know that’s not going to happen. Those savings won’t be passed on to consumers, so it’s not worth crossing your fingers.

Ultimately, the airlines need to decide how baggage should be handled, not the government. Many airlines have started to charge for baggage, and that’s fine with me. For a nominal $5 or $10 fee, I don’t mind. But if you’re going to require that I spend $40 just to bring a bag, it will be one more thing to push me away from flying, especially on a shorter flight where driving or taking a train is an option.

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