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Friday, May 13, 2016

Airline Baggage Fees and The TSA

Above, Denise and Aiden at LAX with our plane in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Before we headed to Hawaii last week, I told Denise and Jackie that it is recommended that we get to the airport at least two hours before our departure time due to the problems with the TSA. I've blogged about the horror stories of some airports where security check lines have gotten very bad.

As it turned out, we had no problems with the TSA at LAX. We got through relatively fast (it helped that we were going to Hawaii on a relatively small airline, Hawaiian Airlines) and spent the extra time having breakfast in the terminal.

Two Democratic senators have proposed that the airlines suspend their baggage fees to help save time.

According to an article in Japan Today:
DALLAS —Two U.S. senators say one way to reduce long airport security lines this summer is for airlines to drop their fees on checking luggage. 
It’s the latest suggestion for dealing with what could be a hellish summer at the nation’s airports. Airlines are already warning passengers to arrive at least two hours early to get through security and catch their flights. 
Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal said they asked executives at 12 airlines to drop checked-bag fees this summer. 
The senators say suspending the fees won’t eliminate lines but it’s a start. 
A spokeswoman for the nation’s largest airlines called the senators’ proposal a misguided attempt to re-regulate airlines and could make airline travel more expensive — fares would rise to offset the loss of money from fees.
I don't know how suspending fees would help with more people bringing carry-on bags. Those fees are paid at the automated check-in stations when travelers get their boarding passes. And, those carry-on bags go through the scanning machines pretty fast.

But this article reminded me of a sore point that came up during our Hawaii trip. Hawaiian Airlines charges $25 for one check-in piece of luggage per person. Most of the other airlines allow people one free piece of luggage at check-in, just as long that they aren't heavier than fifty pounds. Are the airlines so hard up that they have to charge $25 for one piece of luggage? We carried on Aiden's little Star Wars suitcase to save $25.

I'll say this in Hawaiian Airlines's defense: At least they provide a free meal on their flights to and from Hawaii. You don't see that anymore on domestic flights.

To read more, go here.

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