I thought this would be good for a discussion. I was curious as to how everyone feels and this was written so well that I’m just using the story from WCCO . I couldn’t have done it justice.
“We pay for food, for checked bags and now some of us will pay to check a bag. Spirit Airlines just announced it would charge up to $45 for carry on bags. Do the airlines really need this money to be profitable, or are baggage fees just another money grab and rip-off?
“They do need the revenue, and it is a lot of revenue,” said airline analyst Terry Trippler, the founder of RulesToKnow.com.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the airlines took in more than $2 billion in baggage fees in the first 9 months of 2009. One survey indicates that 3 out of 4 air travelers checked a bag last year.
But the big 5 legacy airlines still lost $3.8 billion in 2009. They’re projected to lose $1.8 billion in 2010.
“They’re not losing as much as they were losing, but they still have a long way to go,” said Trippler.
There are benefits to charging for checked bags to the airlines: baggage handlers report fewer injuries, and fewer bags creates more space to haul more lucrative cargo.
However, it’s created a negative side-effect: more people are carrying bigger bags into the cabin of the airplane.
“I don’t think anyone is looking at Spirit and thinking here’s a huge new revenue source. They’re going to watch operationally. Can you speed up the boarding time?” said Trippler.
Because of the increase in carry on bags, boarding and disembarking is taking longer. Spirit may be able to make that move more quickly.
“Take an airplane, knock 20 minutes off boarding time that makes 4 stops, you’re over an hour now. Maybe it’s a set-up where that plane could make another run,” said Trippler.
And that could make a difference in profitability.
Even if revenue for the airlines stabilize, Trippler doesn’t expect the baggage fees to disappear.
“I don’t think they’re gonna ever do away with it. They went through so much negative publicity to get those fees in, why pull it back? Instead they will fluctuate the fares,” he said.
Some wonder why the airlines don’t just fold the baggage fees into the airfares? Spirit claims to be dropping airfares on average $40 to make up for the cost of the carry on baggage.
However, according to Trippler, the airlines are worried that removing the fees and raising airfares would put them at a competitive disadvantage in a world where people do most of their travel shopping online and by price.
If one airline didn’t go along, the price hike would have to be rolled back, and it would be difficult to reinstitute the baggage fee.”
So, how do you all feel about charges like this?