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low cost luggage shipping for low cost airline passengers
  (+6, -3)
(+6, -3)
  [vote for,

Budget airlines are well know for their draconian weight restrictions. For instance, when you fly with Ryanair and have a 30kg suitcase, you end up paying €200 return for overweight fees, even if your original ticket only cost €50 return. An allowance of 15kg may be enough for a weekend trip but a large proportion of budget airline customers are students and young immigrant workers who need to take books and live off a suitcase for several months.

The problem is that there aren't any cheap alternatives. Flying with a legacy carrier (who tolerates 30kg bags) ends up costing just as much, as does shipping the bag by post.

To fill this gap in the market I suggest EasyLuggage:

Scheduled lorries (trucks) drive between two Easyjet/Ryanair destination cities. Departure/arrival points are located near transport hubs - ideally the central railway stations of those cities.

Customers can go online and book one or more slots on a particular lorry. Same pricing model as budget airlines: the earlier you book, the cheaper; tickets are non-refundable.

The day before your plane leaves, you turn up at the lorry stop, show your confirmation number to the driver, climb on the back and dump your 30 kg suitcase.

The next day when you arrive at the destination city you go to the lorry stop at the scheduled arrival time and pick it up.

If a customer fails to pick up a bag it is simply left on the lorry. If he fails to pick it up the next two days (after paying a n additional fee) it is dumped in a storage unit somewhere on the route of the lorry, from where it can be retrieved for an even higher fee.

This method of shipping should be much cheaper than the traditional parcel delivery method because a) No costly logistics organisation (sorting centers, storage centers , IT sytems, tracking, garages, ...) is required because all lorry trips are point-to-point b) It's much less labour intensive; you only need to employ the lorry drivers c) Economies of scale - each lorry can carry luggage for 300 customers d) lorries spend most of their time on the road.

It should also be cheaper than carrying 30-40 kg bags on planes because it requires less fuel, as weight is less of an issue on ground transportation.

I estimate that you could ask for an average price of €20 per suitcase to make a profit. I know a lot of people who would flock to a service like this.

kinemojo, Aug 31 2007


       Easier how? I'd not only have to go to the airport, but the day before I have to go to the lorry depot. And then when I arrive I have to make yet another trip to another lorry depot to pick up my luggage.   

       I withhold my vote until clarification as given as to the target: Easier for the traveler or easier for the airline?
Noexit, Aug 31 2007

       I'm failing to see how this is not already Widely Baked in the form of existing parcel post/mail options. I know a number of people who routinely mail luggage ahead when traveling. (Not because they are cheap-skates like you, but because it's much easier to travel without checked luggage.)   

       But you seem to just be validating my theory that some people simply shouldn't be flying, and we shouldn't keep lowering airfares just so they can. Take the damn train!
DrCurry, Aug 31 2007

       How many destinations do you fly to that a truck can drive to in less than a day? Not many for me. If my destination is that close, I am probably driving myself.
Galbinus_Caeli, Aug 31 2007

       >>Take the damn train!<<   

       Travelling by train in Europe is prohibitively expensive if you go further than about 1000 km, unless you interrail, which isn't suitable for single journeys. Special discount deals on trains are generally only available for domestic journeys. As soon as you cross several borders you get robbed.   

       At the moment, discount airlines remain the only viable travel option for international students. Why should they be less entitled to fly than wealthy people with second homes in Spain?
kinemojo, Aug 31 2007

       >> How many destinations do you fly to that a truck can drive to in less than a day? <<   

       ALL destinations served by discount airlines in Europe (Easyjet, Ryanair, Airberlin...) can be connected by truck in less than 24h. You might not realise it, but this is a HUGE market. Ryanair alone will soon have a fleet size of 300 Boeing 737s.   

       >>If my destination is that close, I am probably driving myself.<<   

       Nobody in their right mind would drive from London to Madrid for instance. The cost of petrol alone would be 3 times as much as the plane ticket.
kinemojo, Aug 31 2007

       >>Easier for the traveler or easier for the airline?<<   

       Let me clarify: the name EasyLuggage is a reference to the low cost airline EasyJet which uses similar principles to keep the costs down: no transfers, fast turnover, basic level of service, understaffing.   

       So the advantage of this is that you can send a heavy suitcase for €20 instead of having to post it for €150 (typical rate charged by post office or UPS), but with the inconvenience of having to pick it up at a particular place at a particular time. There are a large number of people who would put up with this inconvenience, for example exchange students who move to a city abroad for a semester.
kinemojo, Aug 31 2007

       [I weep for the environment.]
DrCurry, Aug 31 2007

       I can see this working. It's the McDonalds principle. You do it there way, no choice, and they cut the price.
Germanicus, Aug 31 2007

       // Why should they be less entitled to fly than wealthy people with second homes in Spain? //   

       For the same reason they're "less entited" to do *anything else requiring money*, including eating expensive food, traveling, wearing nice clothes, etc.   

       This is really the first time I've ever heard of something thinking they're "entitled" to fly to Spain.
partdavid, Aug 31 2007

       by "entitlement" I was referring to DrCurry's statement that "some people shouldn't be flying".   

       Please read preceding post before taking things out of context.
kinemojo, Sep 01 2007

       kinemojo: please read partdavid's comment. Using money to ration the despoilation of the environment is as fair a method as any you can come up with.
DrCurry, Sep 01 2007

       I have no clue how you would get this service to give you a 75% discout to the postal service when the only thing diffrent that they are doing is there not bring it to your door.
F_R_O_G, Sep 01 2007

       AD: rationing is a fine way to limit access to something that, when overused, will lead to ecological disaster. The seas suffer from over-fishing, not fishing. Much of Australia suffers from over-farming, not farming. And our atmosphere potentially suffers from too much carbon dioxide, not carbon dioxide.   

       And using money as a means to ration scarce resources is not about me limiting access to the wealthy, but about you and how you choose to spend your money.
DrCurry, Sep 01 2007

       >>the only thing diffrent that they are doing is there not bring it to your door<<   

       That's exactly what costs the most. Think about it. You need a van that delivers a relatively small number of households, a driver for the van, you need distribution centres and a logistics organisation with all the associated staff.   

       Getting the stuff from city to city is the cheap part. A big plane or truck can carry thousands of parcels at once. The cost for each parcel is therefore quite low.
kinemojo, Sep 01 2007

       I see a number of additional advantages to this if you make it mandatory for all luggage on that flight. Loading luggage seems to be the longest process of a flight turnaround. Security risks would be lowered (who wants to blow up a truck of luggage?). The airline could make more money by taking airmail.   

       Delivery of luggage would be reasonably easy for package trips where the whole plane is going to 2 or 3 hotels, you could drop your cases off when you get to the departure airport and have it delivered to your hotel sometime the next day (within Europe). Going back the other way could be a bit tricky though, you'd have to drop your cases off at reception the day before you left.
marklar, Sep 02 2007

       While I like this idea, I think it would be doomed to failure. I think the LCCs’ charging for heavy and/or more bags has nothing to do with extra weight costing more in fuel and handling, it is simply another way to make a fat marginal revenue on a thin marginal cost. As soon as your system is up and running, they would see their revenue fall and would bring down their charges, sweeping the luggage from under your feet.   

       I think 24hrs for transport might be pushing a bit in a few cases: Liverpool to Seville, or Rome would be impossible, but for many places (Geneva, Nice, Prague, Berlin to London) it could be done.
Gordon Comstock, Sep 03 2007

       In fact, you could probably still make time and cost savings by putting the luggage (possibly from a couple of flights) on a C130 (or similar).
marklar, Sep 03 2007

       Very nice idea! there are 2 problems though; if this is to be economically feasible, you need large volumes (i.e. fill a truck for every destination every day) this will not be easy. The second problem is described bij Gordon Comstock; the low cost carriers mainly earn money on extra's, most passengers pay less for their flight than it costs the carrier. these extra's include beverages,commission on 'tax-free' items, and yes, fees for overweight-luggage. LCCs will therefore not be willing to cooperate with this service, meaning you can't piggyback on their marketing, customer support etc infrastructure. It may be possible to combine this with a rental car service, they drive vehicles back and forth between airports i believe, since people rent a car at one airport and drive to another.
nutty professor, May 16 2008


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