Thursday, May 22, 2008

American Airlines Makes a Dumb Move

The Seattle Times has some interesting comments about how American Airlines is charging passengers $15 (each way!) for their first checked bag.

As a frequent traveler, I don't check bags when I travel for business. I have a carry-on that is stored in the upper bins of the plane and my laptop bag goes underneath my seat. This is very typical of most business travelers.

So how does this affect me? In plain terms, there is going to be serious "bin rage". Infrequent travels violate a ton of overhead bin etiquette. They put over-sized luggage up there, purses and coats, laptop bags and anything else they don't want to put under the seat in front of them. This is why when the last 5 people show up on a plane, they're always hunting around for bin space and inevitably must check their back plane-side. This causes delays and is a total pain for everyone on board.

What we have is essentially the opposite of what happened with the 3-1-1 rules a while back , where carry luggage was allowed to only have containers of 3 oz or less of liquids in 1, 1 quart size bag. Because people didn't want to go through the hassle of getting smaller containers of deodorant, contact solution and toothpaste for their carry-on baggage, the amount of checked baggage dramatically increased.

Now because of $30 being added to your fare, people will be not only bringing back all that luggage, but bringing on more luggage for those bins. The flight attendants are going to turn into luggage police for what is already a totally chaotic boarding process for the infrequent traveler.

One Last Gripe:

Flying Northwest yesterday and Tuesday, their new (to me) boarding process is:

  1. "Northwest Executive Passengers and First Class Passengers" then
  2. "All Rows All Seats"

So you have 100+ people standing in line to board instead of grouping them by seat location or other options. Chaos! Shame on you Northwest!

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