Is hand baggage a perk?

By | Category: Travel news

Airlines are quite inventive when they come to relieving us of our cash.

We pay for such things as snacks, drinks, the ability to get on a plane before others, exit row seats and the ability to self-select a seat before check-in. On some airlines you pay for luggage or get a discount if you travel with just hand-luggage – providing it doesn’t weigh more than a biscuit crumb or whatever rule that particular airline operates.

wheelie suitcase image
Beating the crowds to find space for hand-luggage © Dan Sperrin

Last week, Delta announced a $59 annual subscription rate designed so that those that pay get on first and have overhead luggage rack space. It already charges $15 per flight for priority boarding so isn’t this the same thing subtly disguised to take more of our money?

We have something similar with the early boarding rules that airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair offer but their plan is based on a single price each time you fly rather than a subscription. You can join easyJet Plus but that costs £215 a year which does give you luggage benefits but, for most of us who fly only a couple of times a year paying this amount of cash is not worthwhile.

We pay for hold baggage on some flights and have weight limits on hand baggage on others so, yes, baggage appears to be a perk. Travel without it and you save money

On buses, coaches and trains there are few limits on luggage other than to keep them out of the aisles. They appreciate that to get the passengers they provide something different. Will airlines do the same or practice sameness?

Which will the first airline to return to the days of free baggage allowance in the USA?

More to the point, will UK and other European airlines copy Delta’s move in setting up subscriptions for hand luggage and anything else that they can sell us? Or is Delta just copying what has already been developed in Europe?

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