U.S. Airways Offers Employees $100 Bonus For Meeting Baggage Goals

U.S. Airways has something of a problem when it comes to transporting their customers’ belongings. They’re just not very good at it, particularly in Philadelphia.

According to USAToday, U.S. Airways is trying something different this holiday travel season. They’re offering $100 to every employee in the company if two performance goals are met.

…at least 60% of all flights must depart at the scheduled time or earlier, and mishandled bags must be limited to no more than seven bags per 1,000 bags.

U.S. Airways is already operating at 6.42 mishandled bags per 1,000 customers as of October, so they probably could have aimed a little higher. Still, there are 8 airlines worse than U.S Airways in the baggage category including Delta, Atlantic Southeast (also Delta) and American Eagle (American Airlines).

US Airways to pay workers $100 if baggage goals are met [USAToday]
(Photo:otakuchick)

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  1. Adam Hyland says:

    typical incentive and free rider problem. If I know that someone else is going to put in the effort to get that 100 dollar bonus, why would I bother trying harder?

    Better would be to set specific goals for specific divisions that can be met and influenced by a small number of people with a minimum of free riders.

    Hopefully it works to meet those goals, but a more efficient system would meet much stronger goals.

  2. bonzombiekitty says:

    6.42 mishandled bags per 1,000 customers as of October

    But that’s not the same sort of ratio as 7 bags per 1000 bags. A given customer can have more or less than one bag. I’d expect that on long haul flights you’d be averaging more than one bag per customer, and probably close to 1 bag per customer on shorter flights. So in fact, the 6.42 mishandled bags is even smaller than the 7 bags per 1000 bags than it seems on the surface.

  3. bonzombiekitty says:

    Although, this incentive is part of the holiday season travel. What is the average of mishandled bags during the holiday season?

  4. emona says:

    Bribe ‘em, nice. I hope other airlines follow suit. Some of the stories I’ve heard about baggage handling and claiming a lost item is just absurd.

  5. bugsbenny36 says:

    Why the heck should the airline pay for a job they are already paying for?! How about you get you butt fired if you don’t meet these goals?

  6. mandarin says:

    100$ < 1 ‘supposedly lost’ bag

  7. Adam Hyland says:

    @bugsbenny36:

    how does a baggage handler meet the goal of >60% ontime departure?

  8. dreamcatcher2 says:

    @Hyland: Exactly, but solving the problem is tricky. Even if the compensation scheme was something along the lines of “$y bonus to baggage crews for every flight that has

    Because of the complexity of the problem, it may be best solved through a “cultural” solution, and something like a blanket companywide bonus for overall performance on (1) fair and (2) attainable metrics *may* be a step in that direction. If a company has a strong and cohesive identity, then the free-riders will be forced out by peer pressure.

  9. dreamcatcher2 says:

    @Hyland: Exactly, but solving the problem is tricky. Even if the compensation scheme was something along the lines of “$Y bonus to baggage crews for every flight that has [less than]X mishandled bags”, which is about as granular as it gets without a big technology investment, that still requires the flawless cooperation of a large number of people on both the departure and arrival sides.

    Because of the complexity of the problem, it may be best solved through a “cultural” solution, and something like a blanket companywide bonus for overall performance on (1) fair and (2) attainable metrics *may* be a step in that direction. If a company has a strong and cohesive identity, then the free-riders will be forced out by peer pressure.

    [previous comment got mangled by the less-than sign...]

  10. MercuryPDX says:

    @bugsbenny36: Thank you for that.

    One other point: Say this deal/goal runs from today through January 3rd… You know on January 4th it’ll be back to biz as usual.

  11. tadowguy says:

    Philadelphia is on my “DO NOT FLY” list thanks to getting my bags 3 days after arriving.

  12. Adam Hyland says:

    @dreamcatcher2:

    Right, but IMO the first step is to establish some sort of granularity in reward/punishment schemes.

    A good corporate culture will edge out the free riders within a division, but it will be very hard to get (for example) the check in agents to work hard if their bonus is based on the performance of the throwers.

    As a corollary, if people think that the bonus won’t come their way because of another division, than they don’t have an incentive to try harder to make up for that (for 100 dollars). So if you are a pilot, you probably aren’t busting your ass in philly to make an on time departure becausse you know baggage will be late.

  13. tk427 says:

    Suppose I bring 10 snot-nosed brats aboard a US Airways flight and 6 of them don’t throw peanuts at the crew?

    Only an airline would consider a 60% success rate in any area worth celebrating.

  14. mgomega says:

    Let’s hear it for yet another union-riddled company offering bonuses to employees for doing what should be the minimum required of them anyway.

  15. MauriceReeves says:

    We flew out of Philadelphia over Thanksgiving on US Airways and it was mostly painless, though at the last minute they changed planes on us, so our seating arrangements were totally screwed up. The guy at the gate checking tickets tried to seat my four-year-old son by himself on the opposite end of the airplane, but we were belligerent enough to get seated together at the rear of the plane.

    The plane itself was an antique. I think I saw the Wright Brothers fly it.

    The flight back from Orlando to Philly was even better though, and the plane was brand new.

    Luggage in both directions arrived on time and without hassle. Despite our relatively benign experience, our next flight out will probably be on Southwest.

  16. forgottenpassword says:

    Reminds me of my job’s $50 employee of the quarter program.

    PFFT! Yeah, sure! I’ll work my ass off for 3 months in the hope that I will be the one they pick for a measly fifty bucks & my picture on a wall in the main office! Ow wow!!!!! Thankyou for the pittance mr bossman!!! I am sure all my fellow employees will be so jealous of me & my picture on the wall & my whopping $50 bucks!

    IMO just offering such a pointless, miniscule & hardly attainable reward for working one’s ass off on the job ….. is just an insult.