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Old 04-08-2010, 11:42 AM   #21
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dangerMouse:

One wouldn't mind the fees if they were representative of the incremental cost of transporting your bag. However they have morphed into some sort of underhanded profit item.

Just charge what you need for the tickets and then maybe $5 a bag. that would be up-front.

As others have posted, these fees are very short-sighted. People like myself think twice before getting on an airplane.

I never liked flying before. Now I have some big reasons to like it even less. Just how much worse can they make the flying experience before people (like me) say enough.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:56 AM   #22
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I use this topic (bag fees) as one of my interview questions to recent business school grads. I ask them if they have paid baggage fees and if they feel these fees affect passengers decision on who to fly.

Most say the fees will negatively affect passenger perceptions and cause them to avoid carriers that charge fees. These students fly more than the average american (they are more affluent and are interviewing around the country). When I ask them about their own behavior however NONE of them can name which airlines don't charge bag fees or have factored it into their personal purchase decisions.

For the overwhelming majority of the traveling public the two major criteria for booking a ticket are 1) ticket price and 2) schedule. The rest are just afterthoughts, annoying for sure..
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:16 PM   #23
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I had it all organized for flying lately: Check a 26" bag and carry on a big tote and a small rolling backpack. But I don't think the tote AND the backpack will fit under the seat. There are always things I don't want to check - medicine, jewelry, etc. Also I like to pack a change of clothes (t-shirt and underwear level). Why - because I've been stuck overnight without baggage more than once or twice in the past few years.

So now this one airline is going to make it difficult for me to bring 2 modest sized (relative to many) bags on board. I will never fly Spirit Air... as a result. USAir charges for the checked bag but you know that one up front. And as a midwest person, it's not possible to drive to the coast...

So - they are screwing us? Could we agree on that? I'd rather have the fare go up and stop sweating this junk!
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:25 PM   #24
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There is a big difference weight wise between taking a bag that fits under your seat and one that you check into the hold. Doesn't weight equal greater fuel costs?

I maintain that most people take too much crap. Last time I went to Hawaii friend and I were able to take a small carry on bag with sufficient clothing and toiletries for 5 days. Even then we took too much. We did not have 3 different small bags to try and squeeze into our overhead luggage either.

Last year I went to Vietnam for 10 days and I managed to take a carry on bag that would fit into the overhead luggage compartment. Jetstar sells tickets that either have carry on only, max 20kgs of checked baggage or more baggage. They are rigid as to what qualifies, so it is amazing how little people can travel with when they think they have to pay more to get above that 20kgs.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:52 PM   #25
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A lot of people take too much, definitely. But I find I do wear or use everything I take. It just depends on what you're doing and where you're going.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:09 PM   #26
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Not to mention tall people already have something to put under that seat in front of them--their feet.

Because more rows of seats have been jammed into the plane, each overhead bin must now accommodate a correspondingly larger amount of carryons.

I guess we can all buy new clothes at our destination, or layer our week's worth of clothes. DS travels every week for business--he needs five days of office clothes plus toiletries plus shoes. That could never fit under the seat in front of him. Plus his feet.

IMHO the airlines should make a checked bag free and charge for the carryons. They would shave 30 to 40 minutes off their boarding and disembarking times and could put more planes in the air vs. paying for more baggage handlers.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:17 PM   #27
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Flying is a last resort.
Preach it. I used to enjoy flying. Now I hate it so much that I will not fly unless I absolutely have to. With all the overbooked planes, nickel and dime fees, lack of decently priced fares except for 6 AM departures and midnight arrivals, security hassles and just a general increase in surliness and bad attitudes among other passengers and employees, it's just an excruciatingly awful experience these days.

And it seems like there's something at least once a month that makes it even more awful.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:24 PM   #28
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I guess we can all buy new clothes at our destination, or layer our week's worth of clothes. DS travels every week for business--he needs five days of office clothes plus toiletries plus shoes. That could never fit under the seat in front of him. Plus his feet.
My take is that MOST business travelers will be reimbursed for the bag fees. And I also think Spirit's carry on bag fee applies to bags exceeding a certain size that won't fit under the seat. However a small bag that is of the size that fits under the seat can still be stowed in the overhead compartments (careful, contents may shift during flight) without extra charge. The fee is tied to size of bag, not where you stow it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:33 PM   #29
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There is a big difference weight wise between taking a bag that fits under your seat and one that you check into the hold. Doesn't weight equal greater fuel costs?
OK, back of the envelope time - and this is all from memory, so check it yourself if you wish. A 747 weighs in at about 950,000 lbs of which about 400,000 lbs is fuel if it's about full of fuel for an 8000 mi flight. If someone is strong enough to carry all the bags they used to be able to fly for "free" (okay, included in the ticket price) that would be as much as 140 lbs of luggage. The same as they assume for each passenger's weight as I recall. (might be 170 lbs/passenger now). So if all 350 to 400 passengers take their full 140 lbs of luggage, thats 50,000 to 55,000 lbs or so of both passengers and luggage. Call it a payload of roughly 100,000 lbs to keep it simple. So it takes 400,000 lbs of fuel to deliver 100,000 lbs of people and their fat suitcases 8000 miles. But keep in mind that 850,000 lbs of the plane is NOT passenger or luggage related. If it fly's "empty", it's still 850,000 lbs full of fuel. So it takes about 1/2 a lb of fuel to deliver a lb of loaded "airplane" 8000 miles. Fuel at $2/gal would be about $.25/lb. so carting 140 lbs of luggage 8000 mi might cost the airline $35 in fuel.

Keep in mind that (assuming my figures are anyplace close to correct) this scenario is "worst case". 747's are inefficient by todays newer generation planes. Most planes never fly 8000 miles (i.e., never use a full tank of fuel). So, if the airlines are going to charge for their extra fuel, maybe $10/bag would be somewhere in the ball park. Don't mention that it takes baggage handlers and other infrastructure, because they are already there in sufficient quantity to cover the full "average" weight of baggage typically flown. Yes, I suppose by charging enough, we'll stop taking baggage and they could delete that infrastructure - but in reality, they would switch the infrastructure to cargo (the single BEST argument for pi$$ing off the traveling public so they won't carry as much luggage. Freight makes more money for the airline than baggage.) But don't blame the charges on fuel. It doesn't add up in the worst case - and especially not in the average case (Don't know the figures, but I'd guess an average trip is around 2000 miles when you calculate all the shorter flights with the London to Tokyo flights)

Keep in mind, the airlines already charge you for your ticket. It's not like you get to fly for free with your $40/bag! I'm not saying the airline shouldn't make money. But I still say they are short sighted (just like the banks who charge to see a teller). And (as I believe I have shown in a cursory way) fuel costs are not sufficient to charge the premiums many airlines are now charging for baggage. Of course your airline's MMV
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:42 PM   #30
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My take is that MOST business travelers will be reimbursed for the bag fees.....
True, DS doesn't pay for the baggage fee out of his pocket. His company pays for it--and that means it gets ultimately passed on to the consumer, doesn't it?
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:06 PM   #31
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True, DS doesn't pay for the baggage fee out of his pocket. His company pays for it--and that means it gets ultimately passed on to the consumer, doesn't it?
On average, it shouldn't matter to the end price to the consumer whether plane tickets cost a little more on average, or whether business travelers pay a little more for luggage.

This is just another method to price discriminate (in economic terms). Those indifferent to paying (like biz travelers) pay it, and pay up for last minute flights, good schedules, prime time days, etc. Leisure travelers (ie low profit travelers) will probably work to avoid these fees more so than biz travelers.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:35 PM   #32
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I'm gonna be honest here and admit that, overall, air travel isn't outrageously priced - if you are willing to do your homework and shop around. Even the baggage fees don't add up to a huge amount for most of us in the great scheme of things. Still, I find that, more than the money involved, it's the new level of hassle, the lack of service, and the lack of caring (by the air carriers) that service sucks. The nickel and dimeing is adding insult upon insult.

I have changed from banks to credit unions over a $3 teller fee. If I could punish someone by changing airlines, I would, but I can't. I shop among them, but they are all headed the same way. Poor service, lousy attitudes, and fees for everything - not to make you pay for what you use, but as "profit centers". Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we need to regulate them more. I'm just saying that they are foolish - and apparently don't get it. (Southwest does seem to get it and maybe there are a few other niche carriers, but I don't have access to any of them.) Maybe at the back of my mind I worry that folks who don't seem to know how to run their own business don't know how to be safe, either. Something to think about when extracting a few extra bucks from your customers is more important than getting them to like you and stick with you. Maybe they don't care so much anymore if they always deliver you to your destination in one piece.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:45 PM   #33
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One thing we do know is that a lot of the airlines are running at a loss. Their only chances of turning that around is to either reduce costs or increase revenue, or a bit of both. Not sure they have much wiggle room on the cost side, due to unions and the wage cuts these staff have taken over the past few years. On the revenue side, once again competition holds prices down. I think it is in the best interest of all consumers for as many airlines as possible to stay in the business, because once it becomes non-competitive you can say goodbye to cheap fares.

Personally, if an airline wants to charge for meals or baggage I don't care. As a consumer I have the choice of what I eat and what I take with me. Cutting out the meals is not a big deal, because airline food has never been that fantastic. Baggage, once again, I like the user pays aspect. Also saves me from overpacking.

However, if a traveller is smart, you can utilise your travel plans to get you some kind of status in an airline program. Koolau I see you are on Hawaii. I fly Hawaiian Airlines regularly, I think they are quite good compared to the like of United. By flying with them regularly I have been able to obatin Pulani Gold status which gives me free baggage and pre-boarding. Also get free headphones and a couple of drinks I think.

I think you have to be smart with the travel game. Show a bit of loyalty, even if it costs a bit more on occasion and you will reap the rewards.
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:07 PM   #34
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Made me look
I just got done making flight reservations with JetBlue (no fee for first checked bag up to 50 lbs) and was curious about other carriers' fees. What an eye-opener, assuming that this site's data is accurate. Note the fees are ONE WAY basis, not roundtrip.

Low Cost Carriers
Low-Cost Carriers: Baggage Fees

Top 10 Carriers
Baggage fees for major airlines
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:39 PM   #35
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Koolau I see you are on Hawaii. I fly Hawaiian Airlines regularly, I think they are quite good compared to the like of United. By flying with them regularly I have been able to obatin Pulani Gold status which gives me free baggage and pre-boarding. Also get free headphones and a couple of drinks I think.

I think you have to be smart with the travel game. Show a bit of loyalty, even if it costs a bit more on occasion and you will reap the rewards.
I too have heard good things about Hawaiian Air. We've never been successful in booking our trips using them for at least one leg. Just can't seem to mesh with other carriers who would deliver us to our final destination. I would just love to find an airline I could be loyal to, but so far, they've all seemed to go out of their way to push my hot buttons. I used to love to fly. The very process of flying has always fascinated me. I got my pilots license as a kid (22 or so) though I haven't kept current and doubt I'd pass the medical any more. The aircraft hardware, the far-away-places, even the smell of jet fuel in the morning gets my blood pumping. But the actual experience of commercial air travel has become sheer drudgery any more. I really do dread it. What a pity. I don't see the airlines doing one bloody thing to make air travel fun again. Instead, they make it more difficult (to board, to purchase a fair-priced ticket, to get around airports, to take a reasonable amount of luggage, to have any comfort in a seat, to deal with their employees - on it goes.)

So, from perhaps my favorite thing in the world to almost my least favorite in less than a life-time, air travel is one of life's disappointments to me. I honestly don't think it has to be that way. I think there is room for a carrier who could sustain profit making fares by offering a service level a few notches above the current abysmal record of the average air carrier. Southwest apparently already does this with fares comparable to other carriers. Imagine an airline who catered to folk, willing to pay a consistent 20% more but with the guarantee of comfort, safety, decent food, less hassle, on-time, clean, comfortable. I'd go for it in a heart-beat. If the actual travel could once again become exciting and enjoyable - not just the destination - think how much fun that would be. (sigh)
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:51 PM   #36
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I think part of it is age. What excited you at 21 about the mysteries of travel probably no longer appeals after your first 1,000 flights.

I remember at age 20 making my first trip from Australia to the US. It was my first flight ever. I thought it was all so fascinating. I even kept the toothpick and napkin from the flight and have it in a photo album somewhere. I was so naive I wasn't even offended at the grilling I got from US Immigration.

I do understand what you mean about travel. However to make things easier, I do try and maintain status on some airlines. We usually use kerbside checkin if it is available, I don't mind tipping some $5 to get my suitcase removed from my presence at the first instance. I also checkin on-line the day before. I try to minimise my carryon to ease the stress of TSA checks. On long hauls we use points or pay if possible (at a reasonable cost) to upgrade to first class. That removes much of the stress of travelling, there is something relaxing about making yourself comfortable in first class with a glass of champagne whilst everyone else struggles to fit their luggage into the overhead bins. Also on long hauls we no longer fly economy class. We will pay more for Premium Economy just to remove some of the stress and make the flight more enjoyable.

Truthfully I don't believe that there is anything any airline could do to make a long haul flight enjoyable. My DH constantly talks about one day airlines putting us to sleep as we board and waking us up on arrival. That sounds ok to me.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:31 PM   #37
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Imagine an airline who catered to folk, willing to pay a consistent 20% more but with the guarantee of comfort, safety, decent food, less hassle, on-time, clean, comfortable. I'd go for it in a heart-beat. If the actual travel could once again become exciting and enjoyable - not just the destination - think how much fun that would be. (sigh)
Try Midwest Air - doesn't go a lot of places but they have business class (size) seats in the whole plane so you aren't squished in. That is, unless something has changed in the last year. I would always fly them if I could. They aren't even always expensive.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:15 AM   #38
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We had a super heavy guy overflow his seat onto my wife who had to lean to the other side of her seat. They should make them buy two seats...
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:08 PM   #39
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We had a super heavy guy overflow his seat onto my wife who had to lean to the other side of her seat. They should make them buy two seats...
That brings a whole nuther' meaning to excess baggage!
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