Friday, June 13, 2008

Airlines Have Baggage Bassackwards

Once again, the major unprofitable airlines are doing the wrong thing. One of the biggest problems with airline travel has to do with carry-on baggage. It has created a nightmare at the TSA checkpoints; it creates a nightmare in loading and deplaning times and for the on-board staff, and it destroys the travel experience as your head gets banged and your suit coat gets managled by someone shoving a huge ski boot duffle bag into the overhead bin. Carryons cost the airlines lots of money.

So, now the major, money-losing carriers have worsened the problem by charging for checked bags, only encouraging people to carry on more junk. Maybe shareholders should have mandatory drug testing for the executives that dream up this stuff.

One only needs to look at NetJets to see how the process should work. Passengers flying NetJets are not hunched over carrying on a week's worth of supplies - instead they bring on maybe an overcoat and briefcase. Apparently, that's all successful people need on a flight. Other stuff is checked in the back. And of course, they are willing to pay a high premium for this "limitation".

So, shouldn't the major airlines try to copy this ? Doesn't Hyundai try to copy BMW? Now of course to limit carry-ons, airlines will have to stop losing checked bags, and reduce the 45 minute delay time to get it to the terminal - but that's not exactly rocket science.

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