ALL is ' Fare ' in the Baggage War

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Gone are the days when we could travel in domestic flights with a generous checked in baggage allowance of 25Kg on all Indian carriers. One fine day , Air India , the national carrier of India decided to reduce the check- in baggage allowance  to 15Kg and almost instantaneously  all other airlines followed suit. Funnily enough, Air India has since gone back to its generous baggage allowance of 25Kg but no other carrier has taken the bait.


After all, the additional revenue collected by airlines forms a crucial part of their bottom lines. As a matter of fact, in most parts of the world, there is no concept of free checked in baggage.

Free carry-on baggage is the only courtesy one can expect on most domestic flights abroad and it’s a common sight   to see people travelling with hand luggage packed to the gunnels to avoid paying for checked-in luggage.


Indeed, seasoned travelers have had to devise ingenious ways of dodging the baggage restrictions and fees. And of course, one hears of the occasional case that seems to have taken things to the extreme. In 2015, 19 year old James Mc Elvar cocooned himself in fifteen layers of clothing to avoid paying £45 for his baggage on an Easy Jet flight from London to Glasgow. Sadly, his little adventure concluded with a medical emergency when he passed out due to heat exhaustion lest someone were to seek inspiration from him


Why do airlines still offer free hold luggage?

As the old saying goes, there is nothing in life like a free lunch.. The concept of being able to check a bag in without a charge as part of the deal has all but vanished. Airlines may still claim that they include free checked-in bags, but it’s all built into the price, making it important to compare the total price of your flights including bags should you need them. Don’t presume you aren’t paying for your ‘free’ bag, it is all included in your ticket option. 


And after years of deliberation, the DGCA has shown the maturity to let the low cost carriers unbundle their fares .The Low cost model works on maximizing non ticket revenue arising from ancillaries like seat booking, extra baggage, advertisement on board ,meal booking et al. Very soon we are going to see a zero baggage policy in India at least for the low cost carriers as per DGCA approval. The legacy carriers may take a little longer to come down that road though


Is it fair to charge for a bag?

Is there any logical reasoning in Airlines charging extra for checked in baggage when they can just build it in the airfare? If the airline is trying to encourage travelers to travel light there may be a valid reason after all.

To get air borne, a plane needs fuel. The heavier the aircraft, the more fuel it needs and therefore higher the cost – and fuel is cited as the single largest cost incurred by the airline.

So, if an airline can cut weight, it can keep prices down. And, if you can travel without a checked-in bag, you can also save money – who would argue against that? Surely, the next step can only move toward the weighing of passengers—an absurd possibility that we would rather avoid.

Recently Uzbekistan Airways announced they would be weighing passengers discreetly on their flights from August 2015 for ‘safety’ reasons. Is there a catch here?

All we can do is weight and watch!!!



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