Hand luggage



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Originally uploaded by WexDub

A few years ago, the low-cost airlines started charging for checking in suitcases in the hope that people would start travelling with hand luggage only.

They seem to have been too successful: When I travelled to Paris yesterday with EasyJet, they asked for volunteers to have their hand luggage checked in for free, and the terms & conditions threatened that they had the right to check in your hand luggage if the plane is too full.

However, given you’re only allowed one piece of hand luggage, it’s likely to contain valuables, such as passports, tickets and laptops, and I wouldn’t be a happy bunny at all if they chucked my computer into the hold.

Surely the whole system needs to be redesigned. As I’ve suggested before, one solution could be to abolish checked-in luggage completely, let passengers carry all their luggage out to the plane, and then let them put the big items into the hold themselves, just as people do when they’re travelling by coach.

Alternatively, redesign the planes, abolishing the hold and increasing the luggage space available in the cabin.

Surely even EasyJet and Ryanair can come up with something better than the status quo!

3 thoughts on “Hand luggage”

  1. I think you’re missing one crucial detail: the reason for the strict rules about hand luggage/checked luggage is less to discourage checked luggage these days and more to catch people accidentally breaking sone random rule and getting “fined”.

    The personnel are encouraged to catch this (they get a certain percentage of the fine, at least with Ryanair). Also, a €40 “fine” for bringing a 11 kg bag on a €35 flight?

    I have a feeling that any more sensible solution is very unlikely to happen — they sell so little checked luggage that they must be losing money (on that seen isolated), and any solution that doesn’t bring in more “fines” are not bound to be selected.

    1. Yes, good point. Also, it should be easy to get people to bring less hand luggage by lowering the price of checking in luggage; the fact that they don’t shows they don’t want to.

  2. I see some problems in you proposed scheme.

    First of all, have you noticed that the bottom of the luggage hold is often above chest height for the average traveller? It would be neigh impossible for Doreen o’Flannagan, aged 81, travelling for the first time of her life, to get her safari trunk to that height.

    Second, any airline maintenance department would suffer af collective nervous breakdown, if travellers are allowed near the hold.

    And that lead up to the third point: Getting the luggage next to the plane doesn’t cost that much. It’s the last twenty feet from ground to hold that cost. Even if the discount carriers get the Cattle^H^H^H^H^H^H passengers to carry the luggage next to the plane, the requirements for local handling personel and loading equipment is still the same. And that’s where the biggest part of the handling cost is.

    I suspect the real reason for charging checked luggage is to reduce the take-off weight, and thus the fuel requirement.

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