Posted By RichC on April 29, 2010
It has become challenging to fly commercial airlines in recent year, especially since 9/11. Not only has the process of going through most airports become time consuming with all the additional security precautions, but the airlines themselves have made changes which most agree have become irritating to down right miserable for passengers, I’m thinking about those passengers who’ve been stuck on the tarmac for hours.
With competition, high or fluctuating cost and economic pressures, airline companies are all looking for places to pinch their pennies. Besides the recent trend of charging a per bag price for luggage, Spirit Airlines will be the first to charge for carry-on items if they need to be stored in the overhead bin. According to recent reports this is due to the trend of passengers not checking luggage to forgo the baggage fees and opting instead to carry on their suitcases. According to industry experts this slows the loading and unloading of airplanes delaying flights. Passengers, me included, struggle to cram their luggage into the already full overhead bins. Discount airlines like Spirit have also added additional seats (ie. more passengers) and now with less overhead space have an even bigger problem. Enter the ‘fee’ for carry-on luggage, up to $45 on August 1, 2010.
At first glance I bristled since the checked baggage fee already sent me huffing and puffing in complaint, but eventually realized that the free-market is the best approach in working this out … so as long as we all know up front what flight/service we are getting. Frankly, the same should be true for a fee for carry on luggage. We can all choose with our wallets what kind of flying experience we what to have, be it a door to door elite private jet service or self serve discount airline flying 40 year old planes. It’s both our freedom to choose (within a set ‘safety’ limit) and our responsibility to be a value conscious consumer.
But … enter big brother: Some of our ever further reaching Federal legislators see it as their job to be the ones to legislate and no doubt ‘tax’ us to pay for another bureaucratic department (just a California politicians do for ‘toys’ in McDonald’s Happy Meals). To be fair though, they might also be concerned over loosing tax revenues since the ‘fees’ the airlines charged aren’t taxed as high as airline tickets… hmm.
There Ought to Be a Law
Some in Congress believe airline fees should have limits. A bill has been introduced to outlaw carry-on baggage fees; another effort is aimed at taxing fees just as tickets are taxed so government doesn’t lose out on revenue as airlines shift their charges from tickets to fees.