Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Carry-on-baggage surcharge

Charge airline passengers for bin space, esp. on full flights
 
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Carry-on bin space on many airplanes is often at a premium, especially on full flights. Rather than using the current 'rules' (which seem to be that the first passengers on the plane get one carry-on item each which they often put in bins even if it would fit underfoot, while later passengers get hosed) I would like to see the airlines adopt a market-based model.

Each passenger wanting to use bin space would purchase a from the airline a highly visible removable sticker (or other temporary marker) which they would place on their item or items. People who put try to items in the bins without stickers on them would be asked to store the items under the seat in front of them or else check them (passengers in seats without space in front would be allowed a certain amount of bin space gratis).

This would allow people who really need overhead carry-on space to have it, while encouraging those who don't need it to either check their bags or keep them underfoot.

supercat, Jan 08 2001

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       Why does anyone need overhead space? The airlines I've been on in the last year, you were allowed two carryons <I snuck my stuffed raccoon in on a technicality, I told them it was a pillow. Didn't take up any space, he sat on my lap>, and were to put one in the overhead, and one under the seat.   

       One loser of course brought all his luggage on and was promptly thrown off. It was funny to watch him protesting that two carry on bags, one 'drag it behind you' type Luggage, and two suit bags was 'only two carryons!'
StarChaser, Jan 08 2001
  

       egnor: When there is a shortage of anything, putting it on the market is generally the most effective means of ensuring it goes to the people who need it most. If you haven't noticed, even things that are 'rationed' (like theater tickets) often end up being marketed anyway.
supercat, Jan 09 2001
  

       Now if we all had skin pockets...
barnzenen, Jan 09 2001
  

       If you compare the price of air travel today with the price of air travel 25 years ago, it's obvious that in highly-travelled markets travel is much cheaper than it was before. If you wish more comfortable seating or better service, you are perfectly free to spend more money and use airlines like Midwest Express that provide them.   

       There's an interesting irony, btw, which goes far beyond the airlines, in that many people complain about poor service and yet given a choice between using the vendor that provides poor service or else spending more money on one that provides better service, many people choose to do the former and then complain about it.
supercat, Jan 09 2001
  

       PeterSealy: "Evidently, there is some business rule here." Well, duh. Does it surprise you that an expensive car is bigger, more comfortable, and more powerful than a cheap car? That expensive homes are bigger, more sumptuously outfitted and better located than cheap homes? That expensive computers run faster than cheap computers?   

       This isn't "some business rule", this is the basic tenet on which all business is based, which is that customers pay suppliers for goods and services.   

       Well, then, why does it surprise you that expensive airline seats are bigger and come with better service than cheap airline seats?   

       I don't know what kinds of horrible things they did to steerage class passengers on ocean liners, but almost everything we hate about airline travel is directly attributable to efficiency and therefore to ticket prices. (Airlines aren't very profitable.) They don't exactly go around beating up coach class customers; you just get a small seat and a meal that isn't very tasty.
egnor, Jan 09 2001, last modified Feb 10 2001
  

       egnor: I had read the piece mentioned; thanks for the heads-up, though, since a lot has been written there since I'd earlier read it.
supercat, Jan 10 2001
  

       What annoys me is the surcharge by Delta for carry-on pets. Delta allows two pieces of carry-on free, but if you take a pet as carry-on, you pay an additional $75 and then can only have one other carry-on. I say, if I'm paying for the pets, I should still be allowed my two pieces of free carry-on.
Susen, Feb 10 2001
  

       I still don't know what PeterSealy's talking about.
egnor, Feb 10 2001
  

       I fishbone this into croissantlessness! When I travel by air, I travel light. I take one piece of luggage that can easily fit in the overhead compartment (though not under the seat, but I need that space for my legs, being 6'1"). I have no desire to be charged extra for this, especially since if more people did the same, more space on the plane could be devoted to paying passengers instead of checked baggage, thus increasing each flight's profitability.   

       It seems to me that this idea goes against the usual service model, which is that you pay people to handle things (like luggage) for you, not for the privilege of handling it yourself.
ejs, May 21 2001, last modified May 22 2001
  

       I've flown coach, and I honestly don't know what all the fuss is about. I'm not particularly small (about 5'11") though the seats didn't seem particularly cramped. Also, the airline food that I was served was pretty good. You can't really expect all that much for such a cheap ticket price. I'm actually not sure whether or not I should vote for this, as I'm wondering whether it is better to have a "first-come-first-served" model, or to have it subjected to market pressures. The latter is quite tempting, though...
VeXaR, Jun 18 2001
  

       My grandfather never carried luggage. He sent it UPS to wherever he was staying. Often this is how we knew he was coming: a big brown box of old man cloths turning up at the door.   

       For the business traveler this is impossible, since most hotels do not accept shipments before you arrive. If this were to change, those who plan their travel more than a week in advance could show up at the airport with a magazine and a coke.   

       With every airline and hotel in the world connected to some damn frequent flier/renter/stayer/whatever club, some kind of arrangement should be able to be worked out where you get to ship your stuff to hotel X when you fly airline Y.
elendilmir, Sep 25 2001
  

       it's interesting (to me) to note that the reverse of this is now happening, with some low cost carriers doing away with hol luggage completely. how times change.
neilp, Dec 16 2004
  
      
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