Carry on Baggage Fees: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

From today’s Associated Press:

Spirit Airlines: no hitch with carry-on fees
August 2, 1010 7:06 am EDT

NEW YORK—qqqSpirit Airlines’ controversial carry-on fees took effect Sunday, catching some customers unhappily by surprise. But the low-fare carrier contends that the move will cut down on flight delays, potentially allowing Spirit to add new flights.

Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the new approach already appears to be working. “The check-in process is going well so far,” Pinson said Sunday afternoon. “It looks like this is going to speed things up.”

I first proposed this little idea in the February, 2000, issue of The Freeman.

As is, overhead bin space is allocated on a first come first served basis. A better system would allocate first to those with the highest value on time, risk-abatement, and comfort, and then to others who can claim left-over space or place them underfoot or simply check them in advance at the ticket counter.


Okay, this sounds good in theory, but what about the practical side? We can’t exactly expect people to run up and down the aisles shouting out their supply and demand prices for overhead bins. Talk about wasting time! But there is no reason to resort to this kind of barter solution. Instead, let’s capitalize on the airlines’ existing computerized information system to settle this for us. Airlines would sell overhead bin space as an add-on to a passenger ticket. “Would you like overhead space with that?” If you’re in a hurry, or you’re carrying something really valuable or breakable, you’re answer would very likely be “yes.” And you would pay a little extra for your ticket in order to ensure some overhead bin space. On the other hand, if you don’t want to pay the extra, just say “no” and go on your merry way to the baggage carousel. Soon enough, the airlines will balance out all the yes’s and no’s and reach an equilibrium overhead bin price, just like all other markets work when they are not overly regulated. Those who really value the space highly will get it, and those who do not will not. An efficient outcome.

Full article here: Mad Scramble at 30,000 Feet

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