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Marketing Me: Airlines Charging for carryons?

This came across the wire this morning. Spirit Airlines will institute a per carry on bag charge for all flights.

If you don't fly very often, this means that passengers will be charged for their carry on bags for each flight. Previously, most airlines only charged for checked luggage, you know the type that went in the luggage hold.

I fly about once a month (down from once a week before this recession) for work. Most of the other business travelers carry on some version of the following onto the place: one roller board suitcase and one laptop bag. The roller boards (designed for airline use) are stored in the overhead and the laptop for under the seat in front of the passenger.

The airlines allow each passenger to store on bag in the overhead bin and another in the space in front of the passenger under the facing seat. Spirit wants to charge for the bag in the overhead at a rate of $25.00.

The reasons given by the airline are many (the main reason is money), but let's entertain the excuses given..

- Passengers abuse the carry on rule and bring more than two bags on board or store more than one bag in the overhead bin.

- Flights are delayed by passengers attempting to store their overhead bags.

- Overhead bags and other objects stored in the bin can be dangerous a) when the bag is lifted into the bin and strains someone's back or falls on a person, b) when the bag is taken out and falls from the bin and hurts someone, and c) the object shifts or opens and multiple objects fall when the bin is opened.

- Airline attendants do not want to lift passengers bags and hurt themselves or damage a passenger's property.

Here's the real reason - M.O.N.E.Y.

If the airlines really believed all the above excuses (except for money) they would tape the overhead bins shut and limit all passengers to a single bag which can fit under their seat. All other bags would have to be checked.

Now a US Senator wants to get involved (for our own good, of course) and wants to present some national legislation for carry on luggage.

Like I said, I fly frequently. The carry on luggage problem is exacerbated by the dimwits who bring everything they own into the cabin and cause a big fat fuss when they can't get it all in the overhead. I once watched a guy bring a roller board suitcase, laptop bag, huge department store shopping bag, some giant cardboard tube and his overcoat onto a flight and wanted everything in the overhead and nothing at his feet because he wanted to "stretch out and relax". I would have kicked his butt and his entourage of junk off the flight.

Here's the deal. This new rule will only hurt business travelers. Business travelers fly frequently and want to carry on their bags to expedite their arrival and exit from the airport. If some of the airlines want to chase business people away, that's a mistake and just dumb.

A number of airlines won't charge for checked luggage. And they get plenty of business. If others refuse to follow along with this idiocy and won't charge for carry on luggage, they will get business. The airlines "nickel and diming" passengers to death will find themselves with empty seats on flight populated by occasional travelers and tourists.

To the airlines -

- Enforce the one bag in the overhead bin rule.
- Have attendants refuse to help with bags (except for the handicapped, aged or similar). If the passenger can't place or retrieve their own bag, check it.
- Publish dimensions of carry on bags and available space for carry on bags in each flight. Once the limit has been hit, start checking.
- Consider requiring passengers to note their carry on bags at check in - what type of carry on bag do you have? Roller board? Tote? Computer bag? Backpack, etc?

To the passengers -

- Check in the night before your flight to get the earliest boarding and thus, first crack at available bins.
- One bag in the overhead, the other at your feet. Any more, then check it, ship it or leave it at home. You don't get to put your coat, purse, computer bag, artwork, guitar, whatever in my overhead space! (I have yelled at other passengers to hogging the overhead bin with more than one bag or object).
- Only fly airlines which do not charge these exorbitant fees.

Happy travels,
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