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  #1  
Old April 28th, 2008, 11:05 PM
AR AR is offline
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Default Airline baggage redux

Some little while back there was talk about the airlines' beginning to charge $25 for the second bag. Naturally, this is annoying to some cruisers for whom two bags per person are the bare minimum.

I made the point that the people who check two bags tend to be people who have paid the lowest discounted fares, so in terms of fuel cost and overall administrative work for the airlines, the charge seems fair.

I was just reading a press release from a major airline, dated today, that details their new $25 policy for checking a second bag. Reflecting what I pointed out above, they announced that the $25 charge will not apply to first class passengers, to passengers who pay full fare coach, or to their higher-tier frequent flyers. Then came the most interesting statistic of all: they said that they expect approximately 4% of their customers will wind up paying the second bag charge.

4%.

Yes, it may be that 60% of cruisers will pay it, but if they do it will simply demonstrate how atypical cruise passengers are in this respect vis a vis the overall flying public.

So it is, in fact, just a way to force those who buy the cheapest tickets to pay a bit more of their fair share for the space (and weight) they occupy.
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  #2  
Old April 29th, 2008, 09:04 AM
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Well, well, well! I guess we get penalized for being cost effective! AR, surely you don't believe there is something wrong with searching for the most economical price for things? If they charge $25.00 for the extra bag and your total cost is still below what the other fools are paying for the same ride, then I say you have a great deal!

As far as riding first class, I don't see the need for that excess

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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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When we flew to Europe, KLM only charged $6.00 for extra bags. They said it was to offet the cost of fuel. I think that was better then $25.00 for a second bag.
We left with 3 bags and came home with 6.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Well said Melody.

Why should those who search for the best deal on anything, not just airfare, be subject to the fees/surcharges?
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:35 AM
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Melody--

No, you miss the point. Of course there's nothing wrong with finding the lowest fares. I'm not suggesting in the least that you should pay full fare or fly first class in order to check a second bag for free. You'd obviously come out on the short end of that deal.

I'm simply pointing out that it's unrealistic to expect to have your cake and eat it too. In other words, if you do get a steeply discounted fare, you don't have much of a case if you complain about the bag charge. That's where this discussion started on the previous thread.

As far as international travel is concerned, many airlines are exempting overseas flights from the second bag rule. This will vary among airlines, so it's best to check. In any event, most airlines aren't instituting the charge until next month, so what happened in the past doesn't count.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:43 AM
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AR,

Well I'm glad to hear you support frugality over excess. Personally, I think the extra bag fee should apply to all living souls aboard an aircraft. I mean, if we are talking about paying by weight, then Big Bertha up in first class should be charged double because she weighs more than the six year old in business class. No that can't be right...it would be discrimination....uh, yes, discrimination. Now would it be discriminatory to apply the charge to only the frugal traveler? It's quite possible!

By the way, overseas travelers are allowed 75 lbs. per bag. Don't forget and cheat yourself out of the extra 25 lbs! I think Neiman Marcus or Saks has luggage with a scale built in so you never have to wonder what your bag weighs! Of course the frugal traveler just does the old bathroom scale trick!

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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:45 AM
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nolu--

Well, there are two choices here. Pick the one you like best. Either the airlines can do what they're doing re the second bag charge, or they can jack the discount fares up for everybody. They have to do something, because in case you haven't noticed, they're all going broke. And this time it's not principally because of management incompetence, it's because of fuel prices. Nobody disputes that.

But, you argue, they're jacking up the prices anyway. Of course they are. The question is whether they increase them more across the board, or whether they charge selectively for the people who are burning the additional fuel. In this case they have chosen the latter.

It's absolutely no different from the age-old argument about whether, for instance, specialty restaurants on cruises should be free to all, or whether only those who use them should pay. If the cruise line chooses to make them "free," you can bet that the cost is built into the base fare.

Simple as that.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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I say they should have a giant scale....you and your luggage get weighed and you pay accordingly!

Seriously, the cruise lines have a fuel charge that applies across the board, not just to a select few. They don't care who has the extra weight. It's working for them, it could work for the airlines. It's just another case of the BIG BUSINESS getting by on the backs of the little man!

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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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Again, well said Melody.

AR--why was your last post directed at me? I wasn't arguing with anyone in this post. Just asked a question.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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AR,

You say there are only two choices, but there are always more choices available. In this case, the airlines only present two choices. Obviously, we can always choose to drive, go by train, ship our luggage or keep our happy butts home! Really, the little man isn't as dumb as BIG BUSINESS thinks we are.

The oil industry is making a killing....we should tax their merry butts to subsidize the airlines!

If I didn't have to give up my secure state job, I would consider running for office!

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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:26 AM
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Melody--

It might be lots of fun to draw stereotypes (Big Bertha), but it doesn't make for much of an argument. You know something about airline fare structures, so you obviously know that there is a huge disparity between the cost of discount tickets and full-fare tickets, not to mention premium class tickets. If the difference were small, you might be able to make a good case. But the price difference is literally a chasm, and the airlines have obviously decided that those who are paying top dollar will get a break on the second bag. It's a business decision, and a reasonable one. It is, in my opinion, perfectly defensible against any charge of discrimination, simply because of the way the base fares are structured.

As far as the weight of Big Bertha herself as against, for example, the svelt you, this is an issue the airlines have had to finesse forever. Clearly, the weight and balance of the aircraft is a big issue, not only in terms of fuel consumption, but in terms of basic safety. The flight crew is responsilbe to be sure that the plane is not overweight and that the weight is distributed properly. The largest factors that influence this of course, are people, cargo and fuel on board.

Figuring out the weight of the fuel on board is easy. The cargo is pretty easy as well. People vary. So you have a choice. Weigh everybody along with their bags, or establish a pro-forma weight per passenger. The airlines have chosen the latter, and you'd probably agree that this beats having everybody get on a scale--at least if you believe that flying is dehumanizing enough already--not to mention the time that would be added to getting through the airport.

Interestingly, there are actually two pro-forma numbers, one for summer and one for winter (because of added clothing, coats, etc. in winter). Plus, there's a huge safety factor built into the number to allow for the possibility of lots of heavy people on a particular flight. The FAA changes this number periodically based on voluntary "weigh-ins" at airports. Not surprisingly, the numbers in America are creeping upward.

Sometimes, when there are empty seats, it's not because there were no passengers to fill them; it's because the crew's calculations indicated that the plane would be overweight if they were allowed to board. In the best of all worlds, on a short or medium-haul flight, sometimes the best solution would be to offload some fuel if the tanks are full, but this takes time, and often the on-time issues govern, so people are left behind. It happens more often than you'd expect.

The bigger issue is when somebody is too large to fit in a seat, and these people fly every day. This presents a big dilemma for the airlines, and they each have policies for dealing with it.

nolu--

It wasn't "directed" at you or anybody else. It was just an attempt to answer the question you raised.
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  #12  
Old April 29th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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AR,

I see your point, but obviously I believe the charge should apply across the board. Society Suzie in first class might have an abundance of luggage, as opposed to those who use laundry facilities when traveling. However, since airline travel is such great fun these days, the airlines have to keep their main customer base happy. I guess that would be the people who purchase the higher priced fares. Cruiselines, on the other hand, want to keep everyone happy so they charge the fuel charge to everyone. That's why I cruise more than I fly.

I remember flying in my youth. Things were much better then. Meals existed (and they weren't that bad!) and kids could go to the cockpit midflight to collect their "wings" and speak to the crew! The staff was a bit more pleasant and the plane seemed a lot bigger then! Ah! the good old days! That was when gas was 34 cents a gallon!

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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstill
AR,

You say there are only two choices, but there are always more choices available. In this case, the airlines only present two choices. Melody
You're right. We were limiting the discussion to airlines. We could expand it to include all the things you mentioned, plus biking, walking and hitching a ride.

Of course, other forms of transport might be considered impractical by those who state over and over that the reason they must take short cruises is the limited time they can take off from work!!

You're also right about the oil companies. But in fairness it might be well to trace the entire chain of pain in that regard. . .

The airlines are screwing us.

The oil companies are screwing the airlines.

The oil companies are being enabled by those who set our energy, trade and environmental policies.

You-know-what flows downhill, and I don't just mean oil.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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I agree!

I know some big shots in the oil business. It never ceases to amaze me...one just bought an 18 year old a diesel Jeep Comanche for her birthday. They say we should conserve fuel, but they surely don't!

It matters not what the little man does because nothing will happen until it affects BIG BROTHER!

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  #15  
Old April 29th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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Ar, you are quite right that all airlines are in financial trouble. That is unfortunate for them and for us. Unfortunate for us, because as recent events have shown, they sometimes scrimp on maintenance issues to try to save money. They should all bite the bullet and raise fares until they can make money again. any other course of action is foolish in the extreme. if that means that fewer people fly, so be it. they should also scrap the Byzantine system of fares that even they can't figure out and have a reasonable and entirely predictable fare structure. The overall result would be better, safer service for all of us.

Oh, and they should start serving meals again and start treating us like human beings again.
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