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New Study Correlates Baggage Fees with Time Savings


When flying major airlines, expect to spend at least $25 on checked luggage. If you bring multiple suitcases, then anticipate the cost per bag to rise. Baggage fees frustrate many travellers, yet just a decade ago they didn’t even exist. In the early 2000s, the poundage or size of your bags didn’t matter. You could pack however unselectively you wished.

Travellers chastised the airlines for introducing baggage fees in 2008, believing the decision to be revenue-oriented. Interestingly, new research suggests that this move was more about operational efficiencies.

A researcher from the University of Kansas recently combed all recorded US flights between May 2007 and May 2009. The data shows that on-time departure performances actually improved after baggage fees came about:

  • Airlines improved their median departure times by 3.3 to 4.2 minutes;
  • Airlines decreased average departure delays by 1.3 to two minutes.

After further investigation, the reason for these changes is that baggage fees lower the demand on airport labour. Fewer bags means less handling and security checks. It also means fewer margins for error, which positively impacts customer service. Despite paying more money, airlines receive fewer baggage-related complaints today than before introducing fees.

Packing Lighter Benefits Passengers Too

Baggage fees have made travellers conscious of what they bring on vacation. Although restrictive, this is a good thing. Here are just a few benefits to packing light:

  • Less to unload at the hotel and lug between destinations;
  • Fewer items to potentially lose or damage;
  • More room in your luggage to bring souvenirs back home;
  • Better versatility in the outfits and supplies that you deem worthwhile.

Check out our blog on packing for two-week travel to see just what packing light looks like!