Baggage Fees Are Doubling Your Boarding Time At The Gate

Airport line

Photo: kalleboo via flickr

By tacking on endless fees for baggage and carry-ons and creating new classes of seating to justify price hikes, air carriers may be doing more to exacerbate flying these days than simply rifling through passengers’ wallets, the New York Times’ Jad Mouawad reports. Boarding flights now takes longer than ever. A Boeing study found it takes twice as long to board a 140-passenger domestic flight these days (30 to 40 minutes) than it did in 1970. 

With more passengers loading up with carry-ons to avoid paying a hefty fee for checking bags, the overhead bins on flights begin to fill up almost instantly. That often leaves the last to board—penny pinchers flying coach—to either involuntarily check their bags or crowd the aisle as they try to squeeze their bag into unavailable space. 

“Boarding can be like driving behind a slow-moving truck that you can’t overtake,” Mark DuPont, the vice president for airport planning at American Airlines, told the Times. 

As it happens, airlines that charge fees for carry-on bags might actually be on to something when it comes to shortening boarding time. When we looked at the crazy fees airlines are hitting consumers with, we found Spirit Air slaps $35 fees on carry-on bags.

That gives fliers all the more reason to check their bags, which cuts back on the pile-ups that can delay boarding, Mouawad says.

To read more on how airlines are clogging up the boarding process, check out Mouawad’s article here.  

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