Photo: Flickr / Gerrit Wenz
While many airlines still offer the first checked bag for free, fliers lugging a heavy load––more than two checked bags––can wind up paying major cash out of pocket. A new startup called LugLess hopes to give customers a more convenient and less costly means of transporting their extra baggage.
With flat shipping rates starting at $39, LugLess will literally lug your bags from door to destination. CEO and founder Brian Altomare told Business Insider he has high hopes for the company, with plans to usurp airport baggage transport altogether.
“The fact that airlines can collect $3 billion in baggage fees and lose 30 million bags per year … quite honestly, (passengers) are second class citizens,” he said. “That’s how they’re treated. We’re trying to give them first class service for an economy price.”
Of course there are pros and cons, so let’s dig in:
Convenience. The idea that you could send your bags off with a LugLess agent and know that they’ll be waiting at your destination without much labour on your part is nothing to sniff at. There’s no baggage claim to deal with and you’ll be far less weighed down on your journey from the airport to your destination.
Guaranteed arrival. If you’ve ever dealt with the hassle of tracking down lost baggage at the airport, you’ll appreciate the $500 money-back guarantee LugLess applies to all its shipments that go astray.
Good deal for heavy packers. If you’re planning a major trip and know you’ll need multiple bags, that’s where LugLess’ value really shines. Shipping for carry-on size bags starts at $39; regular-sized bags go for $59; and oversized bags ship for $99. Some airlines charge upwards of $50 for the second checked bag and upwards of $75 for the third and fourth, according to Airfarewatchdog’s fee chart. The same goes for oversized bags. (See LugLess’ full pricing schedule here.)
Carry-on bags. With some airlines like Spirit and Allegiant unabashedly charging $35-$40 for carry-on bags, it might be worth the few extra bucks to let someone else worry about that bag for you. And if US Airways CEO Doug Parker’s recent interview with USA Today is any indication, it might not be long before competitors start hopping on the carry-on fee bandwagon.
Planning ahead. Since choosing to ship your bags means sending them off a few days ahead of your flight, you’ll have to prep well in advance. Standard shipping ranges from one to five days depending on where you’re headed.
Not much help for light-packers. If you’ve gotten used to parsing down your baggage to the bare minimum and know airline baggage fees inside and out, chances are you’d be better off taking a carry-on. Most airlines don’t charge for carry-on bags and LugLess wants at least $39 to ship one.
Not for the 99 per cent just yet. “We are getting a lot of wealthier (customers), however, our goal is to have the masses utilise LugLess as a verb like FedEx every time you travel,” Altomare said. “For us to make it as cost-effective and as closet to airline baggage fee prices as we can, we try to be really transparent. No hidden fees, that’s our shtick.”