Baggage Options

Well, we knew the time was coming when airlines would start charging us for darn near everything. Now they’re going to charge us for the first bag we check. Forget the fact that most travelers will attempt to cram everything into a carry-on bag too big to fit in any overhead compartment. I’m surprised, though, that no one has taken a more novel approach to the pricing.

One approach might be to charge people a flat airfare up to a specified total weight that includes the person traveling and his associated baggage. For every pound over that weight, the passenger is charged extra. That, however, may be viewed as discrimination.

A different method of pricing, however, could involve a bit of hedging. For instance, let’s say I book a flight today for a trip next month. I know that the trip will last three days. In all likelihood, I will check a bag. If I claim at the time I book it, charge me at that time. If I wait until I show up at the airport, then charge me a higher rate. This helps airlines determine ahead of time what their true cost of the flight will be. Additionally, they could set a limit to what they will accept on the flight in terms of weight, cutting people off when they reach that number. Anyone missing the cutoff will have to have their luggage arrive on another flight or through some other means.

Which brings me to another concept that likely will revive: shipping your luggage separately to arrive at your destination. Most people won’t want to plan that far ahead, but it can be highly efficient.

Sure, it would help if the airlines had a better economic model. And yes, the price of gas doesn’t help. But instead of just doing what everyone else is, be novel in your strategy, containing your costs, driving revenue and serving customers.

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