Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Annoying Lies by Omission

Anyone flying recently knows how annoying carry on luggage has become. Why is everyone carrying on? Because the airlines are charging for even the first checked bag.

Today, the USA Today rightly opined that the airlines should charge for carry on luggage rather than the first checked bag. Darryl Jenkins, an airline economics analyst, wrote in his opposing opinion that the airlines charge for checked luggage in order to lower the weight of the plane and reduce fuel costs.

Nonsense. Unless my physics professor lied to me, whether that first bag is in the cabin or the cargo hold doesn’t change the weight of the plane. What charging for the first checked bag does is increase boarding and deplaning times, raise the stress level on the plane, and encourage passengers to act rudely toward each other and the flight staff. Oh, and charging for the first checked bag allows the airlines to lay off baggage handling staff.

The airlines don’t mention the human resource part of the equation, but it’s the major factor. The largest cost of most any endeavour is labor. The more people you can lay off the greater the corporation’s profit. If their customers are outraged, but not enough to forego buying the next plane ticket, that’s ok.

Call your airline. Tell them you want to check your bag, that you want a level of decorum on your next flight, that they need to correct this outrage before the next bag-hurling fight breaks out.