US Airways Says $15 First Checked Bag Fee Is A Huge Success

US Airways CEO Doug “OK To Drive” Parker says that US Airways new $15 fee for the first checked bag is a huge success. It’s caused a 20% drop in checked luggage — which has improved baggage handling performance — all while adding revenue during a tough time for airlines.

From MarketWatch:

“It’s helping us all to run better operations,” Parker said. The new fee at US Airways accounts for most of the $400 million to $500 million in annual revenue for services, he said.

US Airways’ new baggage fees help improve performance [MarketWatch]
(Photo: zonaphoto )

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  1. jscott73 says:

    And it’s saved me a lot of money by choosing to not fly…road trip only vacations this year.

  2. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    Let me show you my 70lb carry-on. My 70lb carry-on: Let me show you it.

    • concordia says:

      @The Name’s Ash78, Housewares: Well come on, whip that thing out.

    • fisherman23 says:

      @The Name’s Ash78, Housewares:
      Of course it is a big hit. Now we get to miss more on time departures because people are trying to stuff everything in a carry-on. It is amazing to watch the bags people try to stuff up there. Very true Ash78.

      • TheStonepedo says:

        @fisherman23: I carry-on my SCUBA gear; I see no reason to trust expensive, somewhat-fragile equipment in a breathable, flexible (read: visible) bag to the same brutes who break rock-solid luggage on a regular basis.

    • firefoxx66 says:

      @The Name’s Ash78, Housewares: And see, as I said before, that’s my huge issue with the policy – you’re expected to bring a huge-ass bag or have extra money hanging around to spend on checking a bag. If you have back problems or are slight in frame and can’t carry and/or handle a large bag, tough shit.

      Then you get to the other side and run out of your tiny toothpaste/shampoo/lotion/etc, and end up having to spend $15 to restock – but don’t try and take it back home with you!!

      URGH! The frustration makes me want to strangle somebody!

    • bagumpity says:

      @The Name’s Ash78, Housewares:
      I’m torn between not wanting to inconvenience my fellow passengers and not wanting to give the jerks an extra $15.

      Generally speaking, the rule I use is: If an item is likely to be needed prior to, immediately after, or while on the flight OR if it’s too precious to be left in the tender care of TSA inspectors & airline baggage manglers, it comes on board with me. Otherwise, I put it in checked luggage so that the overheads and aisles are relatively empty.

      I really can’t stand the people who think the overheads are for all the junk they’ve lugged with them on vacation. It’s selfish, and because everybody does it the aggregate effect is that nobody saves time “not having to wait for baggage claim.” That supposedly saved time is wasted three-fold by the delay of stowing and retrieving bags that should have been checked in the first place.

  3. Bertmanintx says:

    I saw this person, on my flight wearing the following: a backpack, a carry on bag, a trenchcoat, another coat under the trenchcoat, a sweater, and a plastic bag. Lucky for me I got on the plane before him as I watch him take it all off and stuff it into the overhead storage. Unlucky for me as I had to wait after arriving to have him put it all back on.

    • Sasselhoff says:

      @Bertmanintx: I just went to New York and had a carry on bag, a briefcase, and a trenchcoat with a business suit underneath. Whats wrong with that? I didn’t slow anyone down either; it is not rocket science to toss your bag in the overhead, the briefcase under the seat and shuck the coat after you get out of the isle. I fail to see the issue.

    • Ein2015 says:

      @Bertmanintx: Wah.

  4. weakdome says:

    I’ve become “that guy”.
    You know, the guy that you see trying to stuff the MAXIMUM carry-on sized bag into the overhead compartment, and trying to stuff the MAXIMUM-Sized “briefcase/murse” underneath his seat… while also carrying another purse-like-thing for my camera and snacks.

    • TheGuinnessTooth says:

      @weakdome: I do that too, I also make sure to wear the jacket and pants I own with the largest and most abundant pockets. I cannot justify wasting carry on space for a book when I can just as easily cram it into a pocket. I even went so far as to fill my pockets with underwear and socks on a trip I took to Sweden last spring.

      • MyPetFly says:

        @TheGuinnessTooth:

        Whose socks and underwear?

      • bagumpity says:

        @TheGuinnessTooth: I always have socks and underwear handy when I’m in Sweden. Ever since the big 1920’s Swedish Wool Famine, it’s been considered polite for a guest to present his host or hostess with a knit item. I recommend that everyone do this while in Sweden. The locals will love you for it, and it will give you a real sense of the local culture. This is the same reason I always join in the chicken-painting festivals and naked biscuit tossing competitions whenever I’m in Mexico.

        Good times, man. Good times.

    • katylostherart says:

      @weakdome: same rules applies as ‘ask a stupid question’ – make an unreasonable policy, expect unreasonable solutions. they earned their pain.

    • CapitalC says:

      @weakdome: …and it’s people like you that make me happy I’m a preferred member with my airline and get to board the plane ahead of the cattle, with my ONE reasonable sized carry-on.

      • Sasselhoff says:

        @CapitalC: …and it is people like YOU that make me happy I sit “in de back of de bus” with the rest of the “cattle”; as you seem to refer to us. That way I don’t have to put up with people that feel superior for idiotic and elitist reasons.

        What if you are on a business trip and necesitate more than ONE cary on? Does that mean I should stuff all of my proposals and papers into my cary on? Or maybe I should shove all of my clothes into my briefcase? Oh yeah, I know! I should just pull another $15 out of my ass and pay to check a bag that I probably wont see on the other side (or at least not un-molested) in addition to all the other fees they already tack on.

        Want me to be impressed? You being in “Zone 1″ doesn’t do it.

        • Shark1998 says:

          @Sasselhoff: If you were on a business trip then your Carry on luggage charge would be comped.

        • CapitalC says:

          @Sasselhoff: I’m not trying to impress anyone, I just hate getting on the plane after 150 other passengers who decide they’re too cheap to pony up the $15 so instead they stuff the overhead bins with their excessive carry-ons. $15 or free, I check my luggage and take only one carry-on.

          Airfare today is cheaper than it was 15 years ago so quit complaining.

  5. ADismalScience says:

    I’d rather them move to a sustainable pricing model than continuously churn in and out of taxpayer-subsidized bankruptcies.

  6. SWBLOOPERS says:

    It’s taught me to dress in layers when I fly: 4 pair of underwear, 3 pair of pants, 5 shirts, and 2 jackets. I carry my extra socks and shoes in my carry-on.

    “Sorry, am I crowding you?”

  7. Anonymous says:

    Or, how about the fact that since charging, EVERYONE now has a carry-on. On a recent flight between PHL and PHX, they literally stopped boarding half-way and forced all carry-on larger than a typical briefcase to be gate-checked. They then proceeded to LOSE my carry-on. The one I decided to Carry-on so I would not lose all of the valuable items and medical supplies for my diabetic wife. US Airways can go EFF themselves.

  8. novacthall says:

    I still feel the fee is completely arbitrary and bogus in the grand scheme of things. Yes, it’s an added source of revenue, and yes, it can help the efficiency of baggage handling operations. That’s all good and well, but they’re applying a charge for a service that was initially rolled into the price of admission. It’s like charging digital postage for emails after we’ve had it free for so long. It’s bound to piss people off.

    • katylostherart says:

      @novacthall: well considering how much airline tickets still cost and have gone up even in the past year or two, it’s complete bullshit for them to say this is a valid response to their profits falling. $15 on top of a $500 ticket? really? there’s nothing in that $500 that covered a perfectly reasonable amount of luggage, ie ONE BAG.

      • DrGirlfriend says:

        @katylostherart: I don’t know, I have seen lots of ticket prices fall not just recently, but over time. I fly from Portland, OR to Puerto Rico every year. A ticket that used to cost $800+ has fallen over time to not even $400. And that under-$400 ticket was US Air. Likewise I’ve seen prices fall for a number of destinations. (Not all, of course, but enough that I noticed.)

        I usually have to check a bag when I go to PR, and considering how much cheaper it is now than before, I’m not too upset about the extra $15. For shorter trips, I do try to avoid checking a bag but if I have to, it’s still cheaper than the ticket alone used to cost.

        • SarcasticDwarf says:

          @DrGirlfriend: There are too many factors that could influence that one flight though (expanded airport, relaxed international fees, etc). You would need to get a larger sample of domestic us travel to tell anything.

        • Parting says:

          @DrGirlfriend: You are lucky, tickets to Eastern Europe are steadily going up, and up. Now it’s difficult to find anything under 1,5K$.

  9. bobpence says:

    The flight is $400, $600, $800. There is never enough overhead space anyway, and won’t be now. So I pay the extra $15 knowing I’ll only need to find a sliver of space for my laptop bag, and that my checked bag will come out just as I reach baggage claim, faster and more reliably than ever before.

    • The_Legend says:

      @bobpence:
      Are you sure you’re flying the same UselesS Airways I am?

    • ludwigk says:

      @bobpence: …or so the theory goes.. have you flown anywhere lately? I can assure you that this falls apart in practice. 1st checked baggage fee = chump fee that you will pay because sometimes you have to fly, and you don’t have much of a choice.

  10. chrisjames says:

    Hurray! Overpricing is effectively combating airplane overcrowding. Now we can move the seats farther apart, provide better in-cabin services, and improve scheduling processes.

    Also, bankruptcy.

    You win some, you lose… all?

  11. concordia says:

    My mom was wondering when I might fly home again, since I’ll be missing this Christmas.

    It led me to wonder if there’s going to be any airlines left the next time I head home.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I travelled US Airways to Boston last month and we were delayed on every leg because of people having to have their baggage checked at the gate because there was no room on the plane. They may be making money on the checked baggage fee but the delays in flights has to cost them as well. The checked at the gate baggage was checked for free. SO that is a way people are getting around paying for the checked baggage.

  13. krunkwizard says:

    US Airways is still a huge piece of shit. It’s too bad when they bought out America West. America West was such a pleasure to fly, and cheap! Round trip tickets to Vegas from Phoenix for 90 bucks! Those were the days.

    I miss Phoenix :(

  14. Knippschild says:

    “It’s caused a 20% drop in checked luggage – which has improved baggage handling performance – all while adding revenue during a tough time for airlines.”

    I think this part is missing: “And it has caused a 40% decrease in customer satisfaction – which has made us bankrupt.”

  15. Kuonji says:

    Why do people bring big carry on baggage anyways? You have to put it through security and it’s a pain in the ass to haul on and off the plane and shove into those overhead compartments.

    Bring a SUITCASE or a BACKPACK with you. Something that can mostly fit under the seat in front of you. What on earth do need or even want for that matter during the flight that you cannot fit into a very small bag? Otherwise check the damn thing!

    • johnva says:

      @Kuonji: They bring it because a) the airlines are charging for checked luggage, b) it makes it harder for the airlines to lose your luggage, and c) it’s usually much faster if you’re in a hurry than standing around at the airport waiting for your bags.

      • Kuonji says:

        @johnva: Good reasons. Generally not good enough reasons for me to bother, though. I’ve gone overseas for two weeks and had one carry-on and one large checked bag and it was plenty. I suppose I just can’t agree with many peoples’ packing habits.

    • DrGirlfriend says:

      @Kuonji: It’s unreasonable to expect that everyone can always make do with a carry-on size bag for their whole trip.

      What on earth do I pack when I check a bag? Gifts for my family, when I go back to visit. THE HORROR.

      • Kuonji says:

        @DrGirlfriend: For their whole flight? I can’t see what you’d need larger than a backpack for a flight, unless you had a young child/infant with you. I never said you should only bring a carry-on for your trip, I’m saying I don’t think people leverage the checked bags service well enough and/or pack too damn much :)

      • Jamie Sommers says:

        @DrGirlfriend: gift cards and cash don’t need their own luggage.

    • DeeJayQueue says:

      @Kuonji: I fly for business, and I know a lot of people in the a/v industry that do as well. They regularly fly with $20k+ cameras and equipment. I wouldn’t let my mother near some of that stuff, much less the baggage trolls or the fucking TSA goons. Considering the fact that I’ve had numerous bits of gear broken and smashed because the TSA didn’t bother to read instructions on the box, or follow the simple loading directions (there’s a shape of the item cut into the foam in the case. How hard can it really be to put it back into that shape? Preschoolers can do that). You have little to no recourse because those fuckers are untouchable so you learn really quick to either pay through the nose to ship ahead of time or carry-on the expensive live-or-die bits.

      Keep in mind that not everyone flies for pleasure. Some of us do it for work, and have to deal with bringing work stuff on the plane.

    • silver-spork says:

      @Kuonji: PHL is my home airport. I travel for work on short trips and there’s no benefit to paying to check a bag that won’t show up at my destination until I’m at home.

      Unfortunately, unless I get a zone 1 or 2 boarding pass or beg to have my bag gate checked (official policy seems to be that they are now only gate checking for first class), I end up taking my chances anyway.

      In the last month, PHL has delayed my bags twice even though it was checked at the gate.

    • fatcop says:

      @Kuonji: Probably because I don’t like having half of my stuff stolen before I reach my destination.

      That’s no exaggeration, I check 1 bag because they make me, and literally half of the stuff in it was gone.

  16. Howie411 says:

    Last week I flew USair back from FL. I checked my bag, but snuck my dog on, I’ll bite and pay that $15 for a bag but $100 for my dog? no way. On a side note while waiting to in line to get my boarding pass there was these 2 people who had like 6 things of luggage and told usair they couldn’t afford to pay for the bags. Not sure what ended up happening but I later saw those 2 people on my flight.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Howie411: I think they have a plasma collection kit behind the counter…so they pump a few pints out of you to cover the fees…

    • CodingParadox says:

      @Howie411: If you can sneak your dog on, it’s not a dog. If I can drop kick it further than I can throw it, it’s a rat, not a dog. Very simple classification system.

      • Parting says:

        @CodingParadox: Hey, my dog knows how to stay quiet. And it’s not a rat. (Actually, I got her, since she’s a lovely mix of small size and dangerous character. Don’t mess with dachshunds, they jump to kill ;)

  17. Chols says:

    I wish they would ramp up passenger trains. I would gladly take one if they offered it in my area vs. driving or taking a plane.

    • Saboth says:

      @Chols:

      Yes, I wish we had a huge railway system like europe has, that can take us to pretty much anywhere in the US.

      • AD8BC says:

        @Saboth: I like trains — I really do. But I don’t believe a national train system in the US would be profitable — we’re too spread out and too used to getting anywhere in the country in four or five hours. Now it works great for the smaller countries in Europe — I loved taking the train around England.

        Now, you could sell me on regional high-speed any day, such as the proposed link between San Francisco and LA, or maybe even Dallas-San Antonio-Houston…

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @Chols: Amtrack used to go from Orlando to my parents house – problem was that it left and arrived at midnight… and was horribly horribly unreliable. After Katrina, CSX took the line from Jacksonville back so I can only go north now.

      • NYGal81 says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: Yep…I would have gladly took Amtrak from OH to VA, except that my departure would have been at 3:00 AM, and I would have gotten back at 2:00 AM. That and our train station is in the ghetto, so I’m not sure who I would have asked to drive me there in the middle of the night, and I sure as shit wasn’t taking a cab myself through some of the roughest neighborhoods in the city.

  18. jerros says:

    If success is measured by failure than US Air is #1.

  19. nubi78 says:

    I resent having to pay for baggage but I believe this also has a side benefit by “forcing” passengers fly with less stuff.

    Less stuff = lighter airplane = less fuel = profit!!!

    A few weeks ago my wife and I flew to Florida. My wife figured it would be impossible to bring no less then two bags for herself. After knowing the cost to bring a second bag, she manged to reduce down to one bag. Guess what, she survived!

    • dweebster says:

      @nubi78: >Less stuff = lighter airplane = less fuel = profit!!!

      Taken further, this piling on of fees will gradually equate thusly:

      Less passengers = lighter airplane = less fuel = profit!!!

      (But I guess when the airlines fly in their own jets to Washington begging for our money like a crackhead, we won’t be as upset that they flew their “private” jets.)

  20. BMRFILE says:

    I think if it forces people to travel light, then it would be a success. Too many people carry too much crap with them when they fly. Besides, if you have enough star alliance points, the fee is waived.

    However, there are more morons carrying more shit on-board with them than usual. They need to make it a policy to have 1 carry-on item per person. That’s it.

  21. Benny Gesserit says:

    I fly regional Air Crapada ooops, Air CANADA flights and make extensive use of “sky-check.”

    If you don’t mind following the security rules, you can take an extra bag through check-in, but leave it on a rack near the entrance to the plane. Baggage staff load these into the place LAST and you’re on your way.

    At your destination, it’s the first stuff unloaded and it’s waiting when you get off the plane.

    I just made a 5 day business trip to Toronto a heck of a lot easier. When I came back (landing at UGH 1am) I was able to grab my luggage, sprint through the airport and get one of 2 or 3 cabs before the first checked baggage was dumped onto the carousel. Sweet.

    If Air Canada (or other airlines) offered this on longer flights, I’d never check a bag again.

  22. Anonymous says:

    They’re lying. The number of bags has not changed, people just stopped checking them. Now instead they make flights late while they try to cram their oversized bags into overflowing overhead bins. So while baggage handling may be faster, you’ll miss your connecting flight so it hardly matters.

    Solution: Don’t fly rip-off airlines. Let them go out of business and be replaced by fiscally sustainable groups such as Southwest who to this day do not rape their customers with fees.

  23. Parting says:

    Yes it’s a success. I’ll never fly this airline again!

  24. ZukeZuke says:

    I flew last month to Florida on US Air and paid my $15. So yeah, I guess it was a success?

    The amount of carryon luggage some freaks were carrying was outrageous though. They need to put one of those carry-on luggage displays with the max-sized box at the boarding gate w/enforcement! The stewardesses didn’t wanna hassle people with huge garment bags, giant puffy backpacks stuffed to the size of beachballs, etc.

  25. Triborough says:

    Nothing will ever help USAir run better operations, ever.

  26. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I love how US Airways twists the PR. $15 for a checked bag is NOT successful because people embrace it, it’s that sometimes, you can’t pack for a week or more without checking a bag, so you deal with the fee because the only way to get around it is to not pack as much, and as I said earlier…sometimes that isn’t possible. It’s one thing if I’m going to a relative’s house, and if I run out of clothes I can do laundry or buy a new shirt to hold me over. I went to Europe for a week last year and had to make sure I packed more than enough in case I spilled anything on myself because I couldn’t do laundry there and I wasn’t going to spend more money for a shirt (*shakes fist at euro*).

  27. Juice Box Hero says:

    On a recent United flight, there were so many carry-on bags that all the overhead bins were filled before the plane was half full with passengers. Remaining passengers were forced to check their bags at the last second. Not “plane-side” check-in, but regular checked baggage done at the plane itself. The process held our flight for 20+ minutes.

    • Parting says:

      @Juice Box Hero: Ha! Ha! Well, it’s working, but not in the way the company expected.

    • the_wealth says:

      @Juice Box Hero: Not only that but when they do force passengers to check their bags and the overhead compartment is full, they don’t check to see that the overhead bins are stuffed with coats and shopping bags and similar items that could easily fit under a seat and make more room for other bags. They also don’t give you a choice, some people need things (medication, etc.) in a carry on that cannot be checked. When I flew, I was given no option to remove necessary items before the bag was checked for me without my consent.

  28. howtragic says:

    Really? Gouging more money out of your already abused costumers has been a “success”?

    That’s just incredible. I would have thought that US Airways would have considered the extra profit a failure.

  29. onlysublime says:

    All the fees did was shift the burden from the ticket line to the airplane. Now everyone is trying to bring these huge bags onto the plane and spend 20 minutes trying to fit it until the flight attendant tags it for the bottom. It’s so hard to find any overhead space anymore. And if you get caught behind these people with a zillion carry-ons in the security line or on the plane, i feel for you…

  30. Sarah of Get Cooking says:

    Just kind of playing devil’s advocate here, but why shouldn’t people pay more for the labor of baggage claim staff to handle their heavier bags? If a bag is too heavy for you to want to lug to and from the gate, why should staffers have to do the same without any compensation? And shouldn’t those who don’t add any burden to airline staff get the reward of an avoided fee?

    Yes these prices used to be a part of the main ticket price, and prices haven’t decreased to only charge those who check bags, but the economy is in the toilet and the cost of running a failing airline is high. I don’t really think the checked bag fee is all that arbitrary – having someone load and unload your luggage is a convenience.

    • nightlawyer says:

      @sc2373: Hmmm, where to begin. Well, I hauled my damn luggage to the airport. I had to load it and unload it from the cab, and lug it to the counter, etc. It’s not much different than throwing it on the conveyor belt into the belly of the plane. If the FAA allowed me on the tarmac, I could load and unload my own freakin’ luggage to avoid some annoying fee, but that would never happen. Let’s not forget that when they instituted the fee they blamed FUEL prices – not the upkeep of baggage handlers. I’m super positive the baggage handlers are not getting a cent from the $15 fee. In fact, I bet that the 20% drop in checked baggage has led to a decrease in baggage handling jobs. Devil’s advocates are annoying…especially on a blog full of gloriously snarky commenters.

    • Parting says:

      @sc2373: Baggage carriers are paid by the airport, not the airline. @nightlawyer: I agree, they don’t see a cent of this 15$ fee.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Meltdown:
        Skycaps are paid by the airport and by tips. Baggage handlers are underpaid by each airline.

        My flying has decreased by about 80%. And as a last minute business traveler, I always pay full fare, not the big discounted fares you hear about. My reason for flying less has nothing to do with fees. Flying sucks!

  31. wyleeguy says:

    I am a regular business traveler. As someone else stated I take one carry on, my laptop in a laptop backpack. The Laptop is specially configured and would be expensive to replace in terms of money and time to replace so I don’t trust baggage. So I pay the $15 for the rest of my luggage.

    What irritates me is when the flight attendants get on the intercom and ask those of us without the ridiculous sized roller bags to place our jackets and backpacks under the seat. Excuse me but I should not be punished for being reasonable. If you try to bring an obscenely large bag onto a plane and they run out of room too bad so sad. The priority should be fitting in multiple small bags as opposed to one small bag of a customer trying to duck the $15 fee. I don’t like the $15 fee, but I shouldn’t suffer it twice… once when I pay it and again catering to people who try to avoid it.

  32. howtragic says:

    You know what I never got? If this “fee” has to do with the cost of fuel, how are bags in the cabin any less heavy than bags in the underbelly? Does weight suddenly not matter when I carry it on instead of checking it?

    Oh….I get it now! Airlines are full of shit and yet some people buy this line hook, line, and sinker. It’s because of the rising cost of fuel! I could carry-on a 300 pound bag for free, but if I checked it…..well that’s another matter all together. The weight of checked bags affects fuel usage, whereas carry-ons have no effect whatsoever.

  33. Sarah of Get Cooking says:

    I wonder how many baggage handlers would have lost their jobs (and how many bags would then have been mishandled or lost) if the airline didn’t have enough money to pay them though.

    I’m not happy about higher costs. The overhead bins on my flight yesterday were dangerously full. And I’m as guilty as anyone of trying to get as much in my carry-on’s as possible. I just don’t necessarily think that airlines are evil for adding a fee to this. Of course it was originally blamed on fuel prices, which means they should be gone now, but it’s not like they’ve been able to make up the money elsewhere.

  34. jessi5000 says:

    I’m sure the CEOs haven’t had to deal with being on a commercial flight where 50% of the people now bring heavy, oversized carry on luggage (plus diaper bag, diaper bag, oversized purse, pillow, coat, etc.) that the flight attendants are lax about allowing on board. This leads to the compartments being filled before the plane is finished boarding, leading to a delay while the last few rows are forced to check their luggage at the last minute and chaos when the plane lands while a bunch of people are trying to grab their 50 pound bag before the person behind them.

  35. Con Seannery says:

    I’m helping to reduce the number of planes they have to fly and the fuel they have to buy. I used to fly them semi-regularly. Not anymore.

  36. yevarechecha says:

    I only fly back and forth to school. I check a large duffel bag and carry on my backpack and violin case. It is not possible to pack for an entire term in a carry-on and shipping costs way more than $15, so I will pay the fee. However, I’m always worried that the overhead bins will be too full for my violin and I will have to check it. Putting it in the cargo hold voids my insurance policy, so if it’s damaged, I could be out several thousand dollars for a new one. I never had a problem fitting it before, and then the first time I flew after the bag fee went into effect, it almost didn’t fit. Yay.

    These liquid restrictions are the worst, though. The guy in front of me in the security line had to chug 40 oz. of bottled water in a minute to avoid having to throw the whole thing out (bad planning on his part, but still). Let’s hear it for having to pee like a racehorse every 10 minutes for the next hour! Meanwhile, when I arrived at my destination, I realized that I had left a set of 6 folding screwdrivers (the big kind) in my violin case, which means that 6 big metal screwdrivers folding into a casement that looks identical to a Swiss Army knife got through the x-ray machine and the TSA didn’t notice a thing. But ooh, bottled water!

  37. parkavery says:

    I fly overseas once or twice a year to see my family, so driving isn’t a choice.

    On the last trip, my partner and I got on the plane to find that the overhead bins over our seats AND the seats across from us had already been stuffed with someone’s entire luggage collection. There was no one else around us at that point (it was still early), so we could only assume the luggage belonged to someone in the back of the plane.

    It scared me on two fronts: 1.) I wanted to shake the random luggage to make sure it wasn’t ticking, and 2.) if the overhead locker had popped open during the flight, these full-sized pieces of luggage (with wheels!) surely would have killed my partner, who had the aisle seat.

    That’s my only problem with checked baggage policies. If you want to bring your giant luggage onto the plane and risk your own life by sitting under it, fine. But please don’t risk mine or take “my” overhead bin space. We bring a backpack on board the plane, a purse, and we check two bags with our clothes evenly distributed between them. It’s not that difficult to keep yourself busy for eight hours; you don’t need two weeks worth of clothes.

  38. decoitous says:

    …or you could just join their FFlyer program, and check your bags for free.

  39. tspack says:

    I am yet another one of those people who has cut down on flying because the fees (and more fees, and more fees) along with the hassle of the security theater and the incompetent airline personnel has finally crossed the threshold of misery. I wish I lived close enough to family that I could just do a train trip, but I live on the East Coast, and my family lives in the western part of the U.S. If I want to visit, it’s got to be a flight, but I’ve drastically cut things down. What I used to do a couple times I year has been cut to once every couple of years.

    It’s just not worth it.

  40. theblackdog says:

    Southwest FTW! No checked bag fee (unless it’s overweight).

  41. RagingBoehner says:

    As much as the checked baggage fees annoy me overall — they really ought to be waived on the US Air Express flights on prop planes and express jets where there is no regular carry on capacity.

    Having everyone on the plane carry their luggage through security, then hand it to the stewardess, then gate check, then wait on the jetway for their bags to come out is not an efficient system.

  42. ironchef says:

    how about charging non passengers too while you are at it, USAir?

    BTW, I will NEVER fly USAir after they made us sit on the goddamned tarmac for 3 hours at JFK.

  43. qcgallus says:

    If they want to reduce costs how about they provide more regional flights? Case in point: I just checked Kayak for a flight to Chicago from Minneapolis. I do it all the time, as a leg to go to Indiana. However, when I want to fly to Chicago as the end destination I get routed elsewhere. The flight goes as follows:

    Minneapolis, MN -> Charlotte, NC -> Chicago, IL.

    The return trip is the same. Therefore I’m paying a huge fuel surcharge for unnecessary stops? I would understand if I was coming from a smaller city, but seriously, Minneapolis is a pretty decent sized city.

    In other words I pay a $15 checked bag fee because they can’t consolidate some routes to save on fuel, which is $50/barrel. I must be missing something. I didn’t graduate college, after all…

    • Jesse says:

      @qcgallus:

      A major part of making routes profitable is to keep the planes full. It may seem illogical to have 2 connecting flights to a given location but it’s also illogical and impractical to have a regional flight that consistently only fills half the plane, even if they are coming from large cities.

      The time of day you fly also plays a part in how many connecting flights you will have.

      Example: I flew out of Providence back home to Omaha Monday. They sent me through Detroit when on the way out there but I just had to go through Detroit and Minneapolis on the way back. The difference was that I flew out in the morning and back in the afternoon. I probably missed any Detroit to Omaha flights for the day.

      With regards to the checked bag fee, they were implemented back in the summer when oil was at $140/barrel and projected to only go up from there.

  44. vastrightwing says:

    If $15/bag was so successful, then $100 would be even more successful. It would not only decrease the number of bags dramatically, but would also reduce carbon emissions due to even fewer people flying. It would further reduce personnel costs. I agree that allowing passengers to carry their luggage to the cargo door (just like on a bus) would further reduce costs.

    My wife & canceled our proposed trip on Christmas to make more room for your carry ons. “you’re welcome!”

  45. narq says:

    This is why you CHARGE BY WEIGHT! So instead of having a checked bag people will just carry that same weight on the plane making the loading time more difficult and longer. If you charge people a ticket price based on the overall weight, all luggage and physical weight, we wouldn’t have this problem. In fact many of us would take a lot more flights if that were the case.

    I have no problem with paying for checked luggage or high ticket prices but to charge me the same price as someone who weighs 3 times more and carries double the weight in luggage, that’s unfair. I don’t care about the price, I care about how it compares to everyone else. I do everything right, make it easy for the workers, get on quick, get off quick, label everything right… but yet people who cause huge problems for the airlines and cause delays don’t pay anything extra for their careless screwups. Such as taking baggage on the plane that clearly won’t fit and spending 10 minutes trying to get it in.

  46. darkryd says:

    They were only successful if they thought the problem was “how do we keep people from checking luggage?”

  47. Jthon says:

    I flew US Airways over Thanksgiving and all this means is everyone brings carry ons as large as possible. On all my flights they started checking all the larger carryons at the gate since boarding was taking too long, or they were running out of space.

    So instead of having everything checked at the start and giving the ground crew plenty of time to load the baggage. Now they have to scramble 15 minutes before the plane needs to take off and check all the bags at the gate.

    To me it sounds like it’s much less efficient than the old system. Plus with the restrictions on liquids if you want a full tube of toothpaste it costs ya $15 bucks. (I know bring small one or buy a new one..)

  48. Anonymous says:

    Oh yea! I flew Pittsburgh to Mancherster UK. My bags are still in Pittsburgh…they think. You’d thing “THE BAG TAG” would tell you where it’s at. 27 hours without luggage.