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United Makes Plans to Drop 'Baggage Neutrality'

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the too-strange-to-fathom dept.

The Almighty Buck 682

theodp writes "If you need a clue as to how creative ISP execs might get in the absence of network neutrality, look no further than United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton, who is wowing Wall Street with his willingness to examine new ways to wring money out of the carrier, including making economy passengers pay a fee unless they want their luggage to come last off the plane." Now I think when i was like gold ultimate handjob elite years ago my bags had tags that usually made them come out first, but this seems just kinda crappy. I mean, remember when you got a meal on airplanes? No wonder people hate to fly.

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682 comments

Not a dump truck (3, Funny)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062741)

The baggage claim is not a dump truck! You can't just keep dumping stuff on it...

Re:Not a dump truck (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062787)

This kind of stuff is why I try to fly Southwest Airlines whenever possible.

I mean...yeah, I'm not thrilled with the 'cattle car' mentality you go through, but, hey....at least their prices are reasonable, they seem to be about the best with respect to flight times, and they don't seem to try to fsck the last $ out of their customers.

I hope, though, that they stop the policy of trying to keep good looking chicks with skimpy outfits off the planes....that was kinda stupid.

Re:Not a dump truck (5, Interesting)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063077)

When I was doing VTC installs on the west coast I usually flew Southwest and it was great because I just wanted to get there and get home. If I got to the airport early I usually got on an earlier flight no problem, if I was late then I got on a later flight with no extra charges. I packed light personally but had a 50 pound tool kit that never was a problem. I rarly had a reason to bitch about SWA.

Now the other west coast carrier, America West was a horror story almost every time. I would wait overnight and fly SWA before I got on another AWA flight. We once arrived at the counter at 6:30am an hour before our flight, pre-9/11, only to be told that because we booked the flight over 30 days prior and failed to confirm in the last 24 hours we were bumped. Even though the seats were paid for. Of course they tell us this after our luggage went down the chute, which they told us we could retrieve if we ever got to Portland. Then promised us to get us on the next flight. Fast forward 8 hours and we are still being fed bullshit by the ticket agents, of course I forgot to mention the two little bored kids with us. AAAAAAAAAAAhhhhh never agian AWA we went done the counter and immediately got on a SWA flight, kids got to sit with the pilot during a lay over (pre-9/11 again dang I miss the old days) and arrived 12 hours after our luggage, which was dumped beside a carousel out in the open. Never again AmericaWorst!

Re:Not a dump truck (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062791)

The baggage claim is not a dump truck!

Of course not. It's a series of belts.

Re:Not a dump truck (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063117)

This is not equivalent to net neutrality.

The analogous situation to no net neutrality would be to say the destination countries need to pay to guarantee good baggage delivery, so people don't associate them with lost baggage.

Charging the customer for better service is a perfectly acceptable way to handle getting more money, both the cable and phone companies do it.

Re:Not a dump truck - a racket (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063233)

Charging the customer for better service is a perfectly acceptable way to handle getting more money
It seems more like blackmailing and gouging the customer if he wants to get any service, including ones that you'd reasonably expect to be included anyway.

TANSTAAFL (5, Informative)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062743)

First, the article saya the CEO of United "wants to pursue everything, from a merger to charging passengers who want their luggage to come first off the plane" (emphasis mine). That's a far cry from the article title which infers it's a done deal.

Deregulation brought about intense competition in airline fares. The flying public wants to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. As a result, the airlines have been under continued pressure to reduce costs to stay competitive. This has resulted in charging for meals and in some cases, even pillows.

ISP's are in a similar boat with respect to intense pressure on keeping prices low. It's only a matter of time before they figure out how to charge additional
fees for "extras". You get what you pay for.

Oh, and you still get "priority" tags on your bags for being an elite frequent flyer. Whether or not your bags come out first though is strictly a matter of chance.

Re:TANSTAAFL (5, Insightful)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062829)

The problem is the moves airlines make don't make sense if they wish to stay in buisness. In a competitive enviroment, buisnesses should be seeking to reduce their costs and increase the value a customer recieves. Charging to get your baggage first lowers the value of the product because while people who pay might get added value, the customer who is still paying the same ticket price gets less value by having their luggage no longer randomly come out. If the airlines were interested in being more competitve the correct move would be to offer flyers a discount if they don't mind their luggage coming out last. Removing meals from planes is the same thing. Reducing costs is only effective if you change the way you act internally and the product the public gets doesn't suffer.

Re:TANSTAAFL (4, Insightful)

pedramnavid (1069694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062979)

Charging to get your baggage first is the same as offering a discount if you don't mind them coming out last.

Proof: X is the base rate of a flight with unprioritized luggage delivery. The cost of having prioritized luggage delivery, per person, is Y.

Now you can either charge everyone X + Y and then offer a discount of Y to those who don't need it, or charge everyone X and offer a fee of Y to everyone who does need it. Either way, those who need it are paying X + Y and those who don't are paying X. However, offering it as an added fee gives the appearance of lower prices, which, if you're trying to stay competitive, is important. Removing meals from planes is the same thing. You can offer lower prices than your competition by not including meals in the base price. For those who don't want cold meat, or who don't eat that crap anyway, it's better incentive. It might make it marginally more expensive for those who do eat the meals (assuming it would cost less per person to have meals prepared for everyone than it would to prepare meals for only those who want it), but it would still be just as expensive if you were to offer the discount-method.

Re:TANSTAAFL (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063249)

It doesn't make any difference to me. My baggage always comes out last.

Re:TANSTAAFL (4, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063109)

If the airlines were interested in being more competitve the correct move would be to offer flyers a discount if they don't mind their luggage coming out last.
You might argue that in a competitive cut-throat world, this "discount" is already included in the ticket price. People who are already going for cheap flights- regardless of what they'll say in questionnaires and surveys- are more likely to go for the upfront cheapest flight.

The company that says "oh, by the way, your baggage will come last if you but this cheap ticket" will likely lose out to the one that doesn't say that upfront. The company that doesn't implicitly "include" the discount in the price will appear at first glance to be more expensive and lose out- or if they explicitly mention the discount, they'll have the same problem as the company that makes clear your baggage will come last.

Better to keep it quiet, keep the price of the "basic" ticket very low and then make money charging for the "priority" gravy. Cynical, and it sucks but that's the way modern business works. And to be fair, when prices are being driven down to the bone, that's the sort of thing companies rely on to make money.

As I said, smart customers would realise all this- but real-world customers often don't, giving priority to obvious (and short term) savings over longer term ones. Either that or they know what's happening, but want to save every last cent on the ticket and *then* get annoyed when they actually have to live with the consequences of their decision.

IMHO, the companies are both victims and exploiters of this phenomenon.

Removing meals from planes is the same thing.
Depends how long the flight is. I flew business class from Scotland to London (approx. 50 minutes), and while the meal (and seats) were nice, the difference in cost over a normal ticket wasn't remotely justified. I'd rather have flown economy and had my employer pay me the difference :) If Joe Public is paying for his own holiday flight, I'm sure he'd rather save a few pounds/dollars.

I don't doubt that the "cost" of the business class meal was inflated way beyond the cost price, but I still bet that the cost price for the company was significant enough that it would be a serious issue for economy-class tickets. Remember that not only do you have the cost of the food, you also have to store it, serve it and clean up the mess.

And if you think I'm being picky, bear in mind that Ryanair (cheap Irish airline that is popular in the UK) kept their costs down by removing the magazine holders on the backs of seats, simply because it was one less thing to clean up before flying again.

So yeah, the meal does make a difference, and I suspect that most people on short or medium-haul flights would rather just save the money. It's easy to bitch about this stuff, but the days in which everyone got a "free" meal were the days in which flying was far more expensive.

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063251)

And if you think I'm being picky, bear in mind that Ryanair (cheap Irish airline that is popular in the UK) kept their costs down by removing the magazine holders on the backs of seats, simply because it was one less thing to clean up before flying again.
if only american airline companies actually cleaned those out and made sure they all had the proper stuff in them (1 emergency instruction sheet, 1 airline magazine, 1 skymall). they keep costs down by not cleaning, just quickly glancing in each row to make sure there's no loose stuff.

honestly though, i think this is a great idea for united. i fly southwest airlines a lot, no first class, no priority flyers or anything. my luggage somehow comes out last every time i fly. i generally get to the airport about 1.5 hours in advance. i tend to try not to check anything, but when i do, i have to wait and wait for it to come out. it wouldn't bother me if they offered a prioritized luggage delivery fee. i'd consider it part of the cost to keep ticket prices down, which is what i care about most. everything else is just fluff. i get my free soft drink (usually water) and on those airlines that offer free pretzels or peanuts, i take those as well (southwest usually gives everyone 2 packets, which is nice). the worst experience i had was on northwest airlines who charged even for the peanuts (which was a trail mix, and admittedly larger than most airlines give you for peanuts). so there was no food, though i had to pay the $1 because i was hungry. generally, if i think i might get hungry on a flight, i'll buy something before getting to the airport or bring my own food.

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062851)

First, the article saya the CEO of United "wants to pursue everything, from a merger to charging passengers who want their luggage to come first off the plane" (emphasis mine). That's a far cry from the article title which infers it's a done deal.

First, now that they are not only charging to feed you SOAP (snacks on a plane!) but also for choice seating (front of coach where you're more likely to die in a plane crash, exit row, or even aisle/window) does it really surprise you if the bastards would implement this type of horseshit?

I'm waiting for the FAA to pass regulations, paid for by the airlines, that says standing is safer for eliminating strokes during long flights and they will pack us in like cattle in coach and you'll pay 10x as much to sit down -- and you'll like it.

Re:TANSTAAFL (4, Informative)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062889)

To a certain extent, airplane baggage systems are LIFO. That guy who just barely got to the airport on time has his luggage put in last, nearest the door. When the luggage comes out, the container nearest the door comes out first. The poor planner wins, either oblivious to his good fortune or proud of his slipshod actions.

That is not really true. (4, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063073)

I generally try to be the last person on each flight I take. I take a lot of flights. I generally check a bag.

Trust me, it does not make your luggage come out first. Not even an appreciable fraction of the time.

Re:TANSTAAFL (2, Informative)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063199)

Ever see the "Dirty Jobs" episode where he's at an airport sorting luggage? There is no way LIFO (last in-first out) would be assured, or even probable. The luggage goes through restackings both to and from the plane, plus on the plane it could be crammed in in any order.

Moreover, I can't see how the proposed measure would save an airline money - they'd spend far more money on labor doing the sorting than they would earn, I think.

Without Ethics, You Have Nothing. (4, Informative)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063013)

You get what you pay for.

Sometimes your money vanishes into a CEO's private yacht.

United is a prime example of an unethical company that fails to meet any of it's three primary responsibilities: customer service, job security, and investor return. It does not matter that this "plan" to screw customers is not a fact yet, because United customer service is already the pits. How could it be otherwise when the employees are demoralized by games like this:

In an Oct. 15 letter to United's board, the president of United's flight attendants union questioned why the company is mulling selling assets that it insisted were vital during its three-year stay in bankruptcy. "It has only now become clear that the sale of these assets is not only a viable option, but that a timely sale would have avoided the need for severe concessions and, perhaps, avoided the bankruptcy altogether," wrote Greg Davidowitch, president of the United master executive council of the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents 17,000 United workers.

One of the "concessions" was the elimination of employee pension plans. Bankruptcy, of course, screwed investors. It's little wonder that United is often mentioned when I hear bad travel stories. Please do not talk to me about regulation to protect such scumbags. The kinds of things United is accused of are crimes that should be punished.

The other half of TANSTAAFL is a free market. Without that, there's no such thing as a fairly priced sandwich lunch. Glenn Tilton is lucky there's air on the other side of most doors.

Re:Without Ethics, You Have Nothing. (1)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063139)

So who "Wins" in your scenario.

The US traveling public who get to keep an artifically low price to travel. Everyone expects to fly $125 one-way, anytime, anyprice.

US Congress Critters who get to keep "jobs" in their communities.

Airline suppliers - the arms dealers - GE, Rolls Royce, Boeing, and Airbus along will all the other suppliers get to keep selling.

Oddly enough, the unions themselves. Go back to 2001 and Gordon Bethune of Continental was begging to let United die. Were it not for the bail out none of United would be in a job today.

It sucks to lose the pension plan, knew a number of people that lost theirs but still received a reduced payout. But given the option of no job and no pension plan vs. a job and at least a portion of the proceeds - the later worked for them.

BTW, you have it wrong its investor return, customer service, job security. In the end the investors were the ones holding the bag.

Re:Without Ethics, You Have Nothing. (2, Insightful)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063217)

Actually, any listed company has only one primary responsibility, which is investor return. Pursuing job security or customer service where those conflict with investor return is not only unethical, it's illegal. Of course, good customer service generally leads to a better investor return.

Like Linux and Windows (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063137)

There's a perpetual argument on slashdot that goes like this:
Lin/Win: Macs are more expensive.
Mac: No they are not if you configure them Identically
Lin/Win: okay here's a Dell thats comparable and it costs $100 less
Mac: You are overlooking the value of a system that works. It's only cheaper if your time has no value.
Lin/Win: Well I get to choose with my PC, Mac forces me to pay the mac tax whether I want to or not.

So apparently there's a large number of people, larger than the max zealots, for which saving a dime at the expense of time and frustration is really a consideration. United is catering to that large segment. It's what they want.

What I don't like about this is that it is going to turn into what economists refer to as "driving the good apples out". This is when one is in a price comparison situation where one does does not have enough information ahead of time to discern on the basis of quality. It refers to why there are more bad tasting apples than good tasting ones in the super market, and it's classic application was to the Used Car industry.

So when you go to book a ticket on SABRE then you will see united has the cheap flight. It forces the other players to follow unless they can somehow differentiate their service levels. This is why luxury brands never offer a cheap version. They have to maintain a public image that when you buy the luxury brand that you never ever get a bad apple.

This happens in the cell phone market where players like qwest and verizon advertise the cost without all the fees they lard on it and others advertise the final price (e.g. any pay as you go plan). I'm looking a sunday newspaper and I see qwest is advertising that my internet connection can be just $26/mo (going rate in my rural market is $49). Then the fine print says "with Bundle". And when you add in the bundle you realized they just moved the cost over to another service (3 way calling a value at $10/mo!).

So there problem with parcelling and bundling services is it can distort the market for quality when the buyer has a hard time or lacks the time to find out if it's a bad apple before they buy.

The famed economic analysis's conclusion was not that good apples wind up costing more but that the distortion is so severe that good apples leave the market and are not available.

mod up parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063227)

I hate this too

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063219)

Deregulation brought about intense competition in airline fares. The flying public wants to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. As a result, the airlines have been under continued pressure to reduce costs to stay competitive. This has resulted in charging for meals and in some cases, even pillows.


All the conservative's deregulation has done is allow corporations to ignore consumer protection laws, or criminal laws. First off, the "flying public" is NOT getting from Point A to B faster. All deregulation does is permits the airlines to ignore thier flight schedules, overbook planes, ignore proper maintenance, ignore pension laws, and get huge government bailouts. There's nothing a fiscal conservative loves more than corporate welfare.

If conservatives REALLY wanted to help the flying public, they would stop bailing out airlines. All the bailouts and deregulation do is reward mismanagement and criminal behavior. So instead of United, the worst run major airline in the world, going under and it's parts and market share being purchased up by it's better-run competitors, the Bush administration will just keep giving them billion of dollars to keep them afloat. This is another way conservative's denial of reality destroys everything it touches.

ISP's are in a similar boat with respect to intense pressure on keeping prices low. It's only a matter of time before they figure out how to charge additional fees for "extras". You get what you pay for.

ISPs can keep prices low by cutting the salaries of their top executives, by cutting waste, by not breaking the law (like with domestic spying), etc. But we all know following the law isn't something conservaitves do.

It's going to cost United more money to sort the luggage than they will make on this plan. It's actually cheaper and less hastle to have the baggage handlers just throw everything out of the plane, rather than checking for gold tags.

Enron was run according to conservative "values". So is Halliburton, and United, and Blackwater, etc. All Enron-style conservative accounting does is bleed their customers and needlessly inflate prices. Money is the real god of conservatives, especially if they can steal from or kill someone to get it.

No problem (5, Funny)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062759)

making economy passengers pay a fee unless they want their luggage to come last off the plane.
If no-one pays the fee, all our luggage will come off at the same time. Problem solved.

Ah, but you see.. (5, Funny)

The Creator (4611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062793)

If noone pays, the luggage will come out at the same time - but last. If everyone pays, it will come out at the same time - but first!

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21062807)

Yeah, but that won't work. The herd will pay the extra fee, showing United that the program works and feeding profits, and eventually, it won't matter.

Re:No problem (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062955)

Ideal situation for reverse auction. What happens is you get all the passengers standing round in a circle, and you start counting up from zero. When a passenger shouts, they pay that much money and their bags are loaded onto the plane. Bags come off in reverse order. Anyone who fails to bid gets their bags on the next plane.

Re:No problem (1)

joto (134244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063003)

Ideal situation for reverse auction. What happens is you get all the passengers standing round in a circle, and you start counting up from zero. When a passenger shouts, they pay that much money and their bags are loaded onto the plane. Bags come off in reverse order. Anyone who fails to bid gets their bags on the next plane.

This does not make sense. It's also not what a "reverse auction" is. If you start counting from zero, everybody will bid zero. A "reverse auction" would start counting downwards from e.g. $1000. As the price reaches zero, all the baggage will normally have been sold, and it doesn't matter if the remaining baggage are disintegrated in an atomic blaster, placed in a warehouse, or sent with another plance. Except that plane-fuel is expensive.

Almost no one would actually pay for this (1)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063189)

On any given flight, maybe 5% of the people will pay for this, causing a slowdown for everyone else that one would need sensitive instruments to measure. They're milking the blowhards.

I mean, remember when you got a meal on airplanes? (5, Funny)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062769)

I do. And I'd rather forget, believe me.

You are not old enough (2)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063039)

Back in the 60's, EVERYBODY got a good meal. Of course, what is not mentioned is that it was the time of regs and the prices were about the same. That is tickets cost 200-300. Today, not a lot, but back then, well, that was a LOT of money.

I had it good WRT that. My father was an airline pilot so we got to fly free. And yes, even in coach the service and meals were good. Free Booze. I tend to think that Midwest airline had the right idea (leather seats; 4 across on a super 80; good service), but I believe that they are gone now.

Re:You are not old enough (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063103)

When do you not get a meal on the flight? The only times I've not had one has been on very short flights, and they've always had a snack of some kind. It still bugs me that whenever I fly in the USA they charge you for alcoholic drinks (which, of course, you then can't claim on expenses), while every non-US airline I've flown with has included booze in the ticket price (a gin and tonic or two takes all the stress out of flying).

Re:You are not old enough (1)

schwanerhill (135840) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063107)

Midwest Airlines [wikipedia.org] is still going strong; I fly them occasionally. A few years ago, they switched their 717s and MD-80s to 'leisure destinations' to 3x2 seating (instead of 2x2), and later this year, they will have 3x2 seating available on all planes, but they'll still have something like 40 seats in 2x2 seating on every plane. All seats will still be leather.

They no longer serve meals on china, as they did until relatively recently (but before I ever flew Midwest).

Glad they are still going. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063133)

Too bad about the seats. I did not mind paying the extra 40 for it, but I do understand it. Where the airlines would be smart to remove a column is on the wide bodies. There, you lose fewer seats in terms of percentage, but will gain a large number of converts. That is more important for hub/spoke systems. Sadly, they prefer to pack the large ones.

Re:I mean, remember when you got a meal on airplan (1)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063085)

Try a Russian airliner... of course you probably feel very good after your body (attached to your legs) arrive at the same destination, but meanwhile the food is very ok.

Yeah, service ... (3, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062775)

I just flew both American and United this past week. American gave me a mixed bag of sticky dried stuff, and United offered to sell me a "snack box" for the princely sum of five dollars ("Buy-Onboard service", they called it.) Both offered a free soft drink, so I suppose that's something.

That's not why flying sucks (4, Insightful)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062779)

Flying sucks because of all the security theater annoyance. I used not to check bags for more than half my trips, but now I have to check a bag every time because I don't feel like going through the annoyance of having my toiletries inspected at the security line. Fuck that shit. I now drive wherever possible.

remember when you got a meal on airplanes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21062781)

Then remember what that plastic shit tasted like; on long haul flights I refuse the food. Watching other passengers struggling uncomfortably to stuff this processed pig swill into their mouths is almost as disgusting as the food itself. I mean, even the coffee tastes like shit!

Personally, I'd be happier if they did away with food on flights altogether.

Remember when, (2, Funny)

KyleTheDarkOne (1034046) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062809)

the meals on the plane used to be good?... Neither do I.

Re:Remember when, (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062871)

Yes, but it was the 70's.
 
Yes, but it was an overseas flight on a foreign carrier (the food on Austrian is very good if you can handle the garish color scheme inside their planes).

Re:Remember when, (0, Flamebait)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063119)

Try flying ANA. Best airline food I've ever eaten (vegetarian meal; the corpse-eater one looked like it was only nice if you liked things with tentacles). Unfortunately, I was only flying ANA because Lufthansa screwed up and so I didn't get to fly back with them and had wonderful German food on the way back.

EasyJet/RyanAir (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21062813)

The airlines all have to be looking at the low cost European carriers, such as RyanAir or EasyJet. I haven't flown EasyJet in a while, but on RyanAir, the ticket covers carriage, everything else, baggage, excess baggage, drinks, priority seating, luggage tags, calls to customer service, etc. etc. are a premium. It's declared up front, and you take the "a la carte" items you wish.

The problem is, that taking one part of this model will not work, you have to take it all - very low cost tickets, fly only one type of plane, open seats, fast airport turn around, and so forth. The leading carriers in the US don't get this, so will nickel and dime without adding service or reducing costs/fares.

Re:EasyJet/RyanAir (5, Informative)

allcar (1111567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063191)

The low cost Airlines are actually being taken to task for the lack of transparency in this approach. The problem is that they are advertising flights at a specific price point, but it is never possible to actually travel for that price. I was particularly annoyed by a recent Ryanair flight. Checking in each item of luggage cost an extra 10GBP, so the wife and I thought we would save a tenner by sharing a single case. As it turned out, for checking in without a case, there was still a charge of 4GBP. So the advertised price was not a real price at all. In order to get on the plane you had to pay at least 4GBP over the advertised price, before you even start to talk about airport taxes and fuel surcharges. I can see no point at all in having a price that does not include check-in, as check-in is compulsory. It's just a marketing game.
To make things worse, our shared case was overweight, so we ended up paying 25GBP excess baggage - teach me to be a skinflint.

Not "Baggage Neutrality" (4, Insightful)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062823)

This doesn't seem like a neutrality issue to me.

Isn't this closer to a customer just paying for a lower latency connection?

Re:Not "Baggage Neutrality" (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063147)

Exactly. From the headline, I was expecting the article to be about United charging more for carrying different things. In fact, you don't have baggage neutrality anyway; you are only allowed one carry-on item on most flights, but things you bought in the airport shops don't count towards this and so you end up being allowed more 'traffic' if it's from airline-approved sources with throttling applied to all other forms.

It already happens today (5, Informative)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062827)

Submitter has never worked in the airline industry before.

You will notice bright orange tags as they come off the converyor belt in baggage claim. Those tags are for GS, 1K, Premier Exec, Premier, *Gold, and *Silver. The idea is that you alert ground crews to the bags belonging to the best customers so that they will offload those first. This is no different from AA, Delta, USAirways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, and every other airline that flies. All Tilton wants to do is offer this service as an add-on so if you are NOT an elite member and feel it necessary to get your bags off in a hurry (tight transfer in ORD or LHR perhaps) you can purchase that service.

*wacks subby over the head*

Re:It already happens today (1)

blantonl (784786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062867)

*wacks subby over the head*
I believe that he's into Handjobs.

Re:It already happens today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063259)

I used to be be gold elite and I can tell you those tags don't mean anything. My bags never came out first. Ever.

It is not a good analogy (3, Insightful)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062833)

It is also a stupid idea. It takes more work to prioritize luggage and sort it according to a set of rules determined by the price of tickets than to put the luggage on randomly in a first come, first served basis. You don't usually have to wait that long anyway. The intelligent objective is to load and unload the plane in as little time as possible. Gate time is expensive.

Dumb. Very, very dumb. (4, Insightful)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062835)

If they do this, it'll just mean more and more people will try to push the limits of carry-on luggage, rather than pony up for another fee. And we all know how much fun it is to be stuck in the aisle, waiting to get off the plane, while some PHB wrestles a laptop bag and an extra-large "carry-on" from the overhead bin.

Re:Dumb. Very, very dumb. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062861)

I always wonder why airlines have NEVER enforced carry on limits.

Re:Dumb. Very, very dumb. (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062933)

I always wonder why airlines have NEVER enforced carry on limits.

Because at the point they'd notice, they've already started boarding the plane and you've already gone through security (with the baggage check counter on the outside).

Except in the most egregious abuses, if they tried to enforce carry-on rules, every plane would start having extra half-hour to an hour delays (or in some cases, quite a few hours).

As the alternative to that, they'd need to let people cancel/transfer/change their tickets at the last minute, and they do not want to let people out of that little scam...

Re:Dumb. Very, very dumb. (1)

Spleen (9387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063087)

I flew about a year ago on United from Omaha to Orlando. One of the Gals in my party was told her carry on was too big, she is a diabetic and can't afford for her insulin to be lost. They forced her to check her bag at the gate. I was shocked, but they had an attendant waiting for us at the gate as we got off with her bag.

I drive at every opportunity (5, Interesting)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062843)

As someone who travels quite regularly for their job, I avoid the airports whenever possible because of this type of crap. These days, if it's under 500 miles each way, I'll drive it. I used to wish for the airlines to all go out of business, hoping that they'd be forced to figure out a business model that was actually profitable, but gave up on that after we (US taxpayers) were forced to bail them out after 9/11. It's a mess with no easy fix in sight, unless someone can magically make all of the airline lobbyists disappear.

Re:I drive at every opportunity (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062911)

"but gave up on that after we (US taxpayers) were forced to bail them out after 9/11."

One thiong that would help fix wise in these sorts of situations (to my off the top thinking at least) is to give the bail out money to the customers and not to the businesses...

Thoughts...???

all the best,

drew

http://openphoto.net/gallery/index.html?user_id=178 [openphoto.net]

Re:I drive at every opportunity (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062987)

Or howabout more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient modes of transport, ie rail.

Re:I drive at every opportunity (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063121)

"Or howabout more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient modes of transport, ie rail."

Fine with me, but I live in the Bahamas, rail is likely a no go for us...

all the best,

drew

http://code.google.com/p/drradioutils/ [google.com]
Miscellaneous Utilities and Programs for Radio.

Re:I drive at every opportunity (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063043)

It's a mess with no easy fix in sight, unless someone can magically make all of the airline lobbyists disappear.

I can't help but think that their lobbyists can't be very good. I mean, looking at the rate at which the Bush administration is introducing new measures to piss off airline customers, I can't help but think his intention is to destroy the US airline industry.

gold ultimate handjob elite (4, Funny)

blantonl (784786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062853)

gold ultimate handjob elite
I haven't had one of those in years.

Re:gold ultimate handjob elite (4, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062989)

try using your other hand

Re:gold ultimate handjob elite (2, Funny)

c (8461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063201)

> > gold ultimate handjob elite

> I haven't had one of those in years.

Of course not. After 9/11, they replaced with with the terrorist super anal probe extra.

Thinking it through (4, Insightful)

martyb (196687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062865)

FTFS:

... United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton, who is wowing Wall Street with his willingness to examine new ways to wring money out of the carrier [CC], including making economy passengers pay a fee unless they want their luggage to come last off the plane.

Let's think this through for a bit. At first, only a couple of people pay the fee. No biggee, and not much impact. Then someone, whose baggage came off last, notices the "priority tag" or whatever they use to identify the "don't take me off the plane last" tag. So s/he now ponies up for the fee from now on. Repeat for a few iterations. Now, nearly everybody has paid the fee, and they all come off just as before.

EXCEPT when some poor customer has paid the fee, AND his stuff comes off AFTER someone who did NOT. Guaranteed Upset Passenger.

The real kicker: what happens when someone:

  1. HAS paid the priority fee, AND
  2. UA loses their luggage?

Yep, sure sounds like <sarcasm>great customer service</sarcasm> to me. With increasingly ubiquitous video cameras, all it takes is a couple of postings to YouTube, a few blog posts, and then the REAL FUN begins!

Baggage Protection Service (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063051)

Airline Employee:

Nice piece of luggage you got there. You probably have some real nice stuff in there.
It would be a shame if anything happened to it. For a reasonable fee, I can make sure
nothing happens to it.

What is the problem? (2, Insightful)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062873)

They can charge 1st class tickets more by guaranteeing their luggage gets off first thus making their travel more efficient, and they offer the same service to Economy passengers but the price is not included int eh ticket price so you have to pay more..

I used to like flying... (3, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062909)

Way back when, flying was a rare novelty, so it was inherently fun.

Today pretty much everything about it is a hassle, so it's only worth flying when constrained by time, or when other driving just isn't practical. I've done long-haul Greyhound long ago, and to be honest that wasn't so hot, either. I've never traveled by train, just taken tourist-type train rides.

As an aside, the annoyance starts when you book a flight. My wife has checked it out, and for at least one airline, the magic interval is three-weeks-and-a-day. Booking closer than that, the rates are outrageous. That is, except for a flight with an empty seat that is so close in time that you can't even get to the airport. One thing we've realized is that it appears that they accept new bookings right up to flight time, even for full flights. For the prices they charge for a near-in booking, they can bump someone, give them a free flight at the longer-term booking rates, and still make more money on that seat.

Then there's TSA, and the overloaded ATC delays, and the overloaded airports, etc, etc, etc.

Flying is just a way to get from point A to point B when other means won't work out.

Re:I used to like flying... (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063011)

actually, I think two weeks is the best range. I have found tickets more expensive 3+ weeks out than 2 weeks out.

Re:I used to like flying... (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063019)

I've never traveled by train, just taken tourist-type train rides.

Travelling by train actually pretty much rocks, if you don't need to get across the country in three to five hours (or cross an ocean, obviously).

They don't pack you in like sardines, you frequently have real tables and comfy seats (as in, you can face your travelling companions and play cards or something), you can move about (pee, go to the bar, etc) whenever you want, usually no assigned seating (which could count as a downside, but usually the non-commuter-trains have so few passengers you have all the choice you could want)... For a vacation rather than a business trip, I'd highly recommend going by train - And as a bonus, you'll actually see the country rather than seeing clouds.

Of course, like the rest of our lives, we Americans even make our leisure time a non-stop rush-rush-rush flurry of activity. Get "there" as fast as possible, then lose more sleep than normal trying to visit every point of interest in a 100mi radius of our destination. Thus we have the phenomenon of needing to come home an extra day before resuming work because we need to crash from what we call "relaxation".

Sad.

Re:I used to like flying... (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063093)

Way back when, flying was a rare novelty, so it was inherently fun.

You forget that back then it was regulated. Airlines competed on service, not price.

pay for non-damaged baggage (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062929)

What is next, pay extra for not having you luggage damaged?

Really, there are two issues with this. First, it seems that more people are using carry on anyway. In my experience flying, more carry on reduces the already dreadful flying experience. I see this as a competitive disincentive.

Second, I wonder if the cost of implementing such a plan, which would require marking and sorting bags, would be less than the additional revenue. This is the same question I have for the ISP. Will the costs of all the additional equipment really justify the additional fees such equipment would impose on the end user. Wouldn't it be better, like the airliines, to impose a fixed limit on throughput, and allow users to pay for more?

Re:pay for non-damaged baggage (4, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063055)

You know, airports are dangerous places. It would be a real shame if your baggage had an "accident" on its way to the baggage claim area. For a small fee, we can guarantee its safety.

-- Fat Tony, United Airlines Revenue Enhancement Agent

Who wants meals? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062935)

Am I the only one who does not miss the meals? They were just a hassle an generally I just skipped them. Geez, have a snack before the flight. I can see it on some trans-Pacific flight, but it was pointless for domestic trips. Jet Blue replaced the meals with satellite TV. and I've been a fan ever since.

Why does flying stink? Look in the mirror!! (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062937)

Well, people who complain about how awful it is to fly should look into the mirror (and maybe Jimmy Carter for deregulating the airline industry) for the cause. When was the last time you shopped for an airline ticket where the cost was not the main driver in your selection? Even if it is $5 less, most people will select the $5 cheaper carrier.

If you want things to change, support the airlines that are providing higher quality service for a bit more money. For example:

1)Are you supporting the new Economy Plus section offered by some airlines? Usually these are only $100-200 more than a normal economy ticket.

2)Are you trying the new low-cost business-class only airlines? Some are about $1600 round trip to Europe.

You want things to get better stop complaining and put your money where your mouth is and don't support the cheap crappy carriers (I am looking at you Southwest).

Re:Why does flying stink? Look in the mirror!! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062971)

A lot of us don't care about once we're on the plane, especially on flights of 6 hours or less. I just want to get there. I don't need a meal, and unless the pretty flight attendant is going to fellate me or put on a strip show, I don't need her doting over me. I will continue to support my cheap carrier (Jet Blue- that DirecTV makes the flight go by fast), and others can continute to seek some sort of spa in the sky.

But then again I'm not one of the complainers.

Re:Why does flying stink? Look in the mirror!! (1)

Blahbooboo3 (874492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063037)

Exactly. You're not a complainer. But look at the rest of the comments here...i was addressing those people. I actually think there should be two types of planes, one for super cheap and the other that are more (not crazy different in pricing the way business class tickets are for NO reason other than airlines can get the $3000 RT) and have better service.

Re:Why does flying stink? Look in the mirror!! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063083)

Didn't Virgin or British Airways or someone offer flights like that? It was a plane where you had something like a little sleeper compartment in a train.

kewl (1)

spykemail (983593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062943)

While we're at it, how about dropping terrorist neutrality as well? I'd gladly pay a fee to keep Uncle Sam out of my bodily cavities.

Awesome! (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062945)

"If you need a clue as to how creative ISP execs might get in the absence of network neutrality, look no further than United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton, who is wowing Wall Street with his willingness to examine new ways to wring money out of the carrier, including making economy passengers pay a fee unless they want their luggage to come last off the plane."

Best. Non sequitur. Ever.

I'm sorry, but... big flippin' deal. (2, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062947)

We've become such an instant gratification society that people bitch if they have to wait a few minutes longer for their luggage? IT'S JUST LUGGAGE! If you are so concerned about getting to your destination on time that you have to get your luggage quickly, how about, oh, I don't know, booking an earlier flight?

REAL savings... (1)

oh2 (520684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062951)

...will mean that you sedate all passengers before boarding, stuff them into individual containers and load the plane up. No seats needed so passenger density should be able to increase by at least 100-150%. In coach you dont get an individual container of course, you just get a canvas bag.

Re:REAL savings... (1)

Dreamstalker_wolf (823953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063047)

A friend and I have been saying essentially the same thing for a few years, but aimed at the perceived antiterror airline BS: The only "truly safe" way to fly would be if passengers are naked, sedated and stuffed in little pods just large enough for one upright person.

Think big! (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063089)

Just have ppl at airports change identities with other ppl at other airports! No need for planes at all!

Ah, what a nice gesture, but it won't work (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062953)

Tilton's core of nitwits can't get baggage to arrive on time anyway. If you get a United Priority Tag, it's sure to come off last, if you're lucky to have it come on time at all.

What a compleat and total jerk. First he strips out the pensions in bankruptcy, cuts the United FF program to shreds, stops serving food, has one of the worst flight delay records in the industry, now he wants $$ for your baggage arrival. This is extortion, pure and simple.

Can it get worse? (4, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062961)

Ever since the increase in "security" after 9/11, I have done everything I can to avoid flying unless it's absolutely necessary. I've gotten pretty good at getting through the security gauntlet without an orifice probe -- playing dumb and cheerful seems to be the ticket -- but even then, most planes make the city bus feel like a luxury limo by comparison and airports seem to have been designed by a retired platform game designer. Add to that the bizarre security rituals, like the TSAA guard in New Jersey who banged my shoes against the floor before declaring, "Nope, no bomb in there," and if I can skip traveling, I will, and if I can't skip it, I'll drive. About the only reason I'll board a plane voluntarily now is to vacation abroad, and even then, I have to ask myself if it's worth the extra-special unlubricated scrutiny you get when returning from abroad.

So now my bags are going to be delayed a few minutes? Who gives a shit? That's like being told that in addition to being worked over for an hour by mafia goons, someone will now call you a sissy at the end of your beating.

Re:Can it get worse? (2, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063023)

I've gotten pretty good at getting through the security gauntlet without an orifice probe -- playing dumb and cheerful seems to be the ticket

I don't even believe half the stories I hear. I've flown eight times this year for work, and other than it being slow, I've yet to see anyone even taken to the side. There's nothing to get get good at. Hell, I was hand carrying a box of A/D converter chips in an ESD bag and it was no problem.

most planes make the city bus feel like a luxury limo by comparison

Yeah, but a luxury limo does not cruise at 600 MPH at 35,000 feet and cross the country in 5 hours

Sorry, kid, but there's compromises in life. I don't get this "Waaaa gimme luxury attitude". More room means bigger, heavier plane means more fuel means why do you hate the Earth? ;-)

and airports seem to have been designed by a retired platform game designer

OK, now *that's* funny. One my next flight into Logan next week, I'll totally picture Mario jumping from the arrivials to the departures level.

Idiotic (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21062999)

Tilton is trying to copy Crandals innovative work during the early days of deregulations. Prior to deregs, United(which was a spin off from boeing) was the leader since they had so many friends in a number of low places. After Carter deregulated the airlines (just before he deregulated the oil companies), Bob Crandel of American Airlines became very aggressive AND innovative. In particular, he moved the major airlines to hub and spoke system. That lowered the over prices to travelers. Another thing he did was spend loads of money on AI programming to figure out who to charge on a route. What they created was the variable pricing that we now see.

OTH, Tilton is now moving the system to a charge for everything. In the end, southwests and even virgin air are going to kill off airlines like them. This will be bad for Denver, as right now, United is one of the larger airlines here, but evolution changes all.

A Lesson in Airline Revenue Managment for /. (5, Informative)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063005)

I'm seeing a lot of anger and discussion as to why are airlines *cheapening* the flight and do all of these things like what United does with Economy Plus or Continental and Northwest charging for exit row. So let me bring you into the world of US domestic air travel.

Domestic air travel is one of the five most price elastic products avaliable for purchase today. This means when you go on to Orbitz we all charge practically the same thing. Internal tests in the airlines have proven that a $5 difference in airfare will dry up your demand. So, no people for the most part say they want everything but time again have proven through actions that they will only buy for the most part on price. International flights are a different story.

Price, Schedule, Frequency in that order is how people buy airfare. The idea now is to shrink the price as much as possible and try to recoup through the difference with ancillary revenue streams. This is why you see such things as purchase of Snacks on Board, charging for pillows, SkyBus and RyanAir charging for everything. People complain about buying a $5 meal on the plane but you can create a better product and for most part people realize they will pay $10 in airport for the same caliber of meal.

Since the industry is so price sensitive it is trying to debundle the product. It costs money to serve meals and when you make as little as $200 on a flight from JFK to LAX TOTAL, you have to find other ways. So what do we do, we try to offer things that people are willing to purchase. Economy Plus 5 additional inches of leg room on most United flights...it makes a big difference when you go cross-country or across the ocean. Purchase an Admirals Club ticket from AA for $35 for the day so you have a place to shower and change because you can't check into your hotel in London until after 4:00 PM but you got there at 10:00 AM.

Programs like giving luggage priority to the customer that flys 1 or 2 times a year is to give customers what they want (a lower flight price), but also for those folks that want something extra a place where they can purchase it.

The Point Is... (5, Insightful)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063017)

You don't get what you pay for, but you're required to pay anyway. As in:

1) You pay for homeowners' insurance only to find that your particular disaster isn't going to be covered. Just ask the people on the Gulf Coast.
2) You pay for a utility, like phone or cable, only to find that when you've got a problem or outage, you're without your service--not for hours, but for days or possibly even weeks. (Ever try to get a rebate from, say, your phone company when they take four days to send out a "technician" to spend twenty minutes fixing your trouble?)
3) You pay ever-increasing costs for your health insurance only to find that a catastrophic illness or accident leaves you in debt for years.
4) You pay for what is termed "unlimited" Internet services only to find that your ISP is cutting you back because they have a different idea of what constitutes "unlimited."
5) You earn your money, but you are required to pay the bank ever-increasing "fees" so that they can use it until you need it. In some cases, you even have to pay to speak with a human being (as opposed to an automated system) to receive an answer to your question.

We're all part of a vast pool of money to be tapped into at will, and the game is to return the bare minimum of value for what we're all willing (or able) to pay. Why should the airlines be any different? An interesting article appeared on CNN [cnn.com] a couple of days ago. It seems the "working poor" are having increasing trouble making that paycheck stretch from one payday to the next--and the term "working poor" is now encroaching more and more into the "middle class." The Big Box Marts are starting to notice an impact to their bottom lines.

The airlines will find that fewer and fewer people can afford to fly, so they'll focus on ways to wring more out of the people who can still afford to fly. It's not surprising.

Re:The Point Is... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063061)

1) You pay for homeowners' insurance only to find that your particular disaster isn't going to be covered. Just ask the people on the Gulf Coast.

Uh, you're supposed to find that out before you sign the on the dotted line.

5) You earn your money, but you are required to pay the bank ever-increasing "fees" so that they can use it until you need it. In some cases, you even have to pay to speak with a human being (as opposed to an automated system) to receive an answer to your question.

Two words: credit union. No fees at mine.

Re:The Point Is... (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063115)

I guess I should clarify on the homeowner's. I was thinking of wind damage that somehow magically transmuted itself into flood damage.

Last to come off? (1)

kaiwai (765866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063029)

Why would anyone care? When I am on the plane, I take my time, and when I get off the plane, I see no reason to rush to the door - the plane isn't going to leave if I don't get up in time. So I cruise along, take my time. So whilst all the people who got off early have been sitting around like idiots waiting for their bags, I've been taking my time - stress free.

Why I hate flying (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063053)

I love to fly general aviation and military familiarization flights. But I loathe flying commercial these days.

Why?

Security theater: having to take off my shoes and other gear, can't have anything metal in carry-on luggage, severely limited amounts of liquids (I get thirsty easily and it can take a while for the stews to pass around refreshments). I don't feel any safer.

Delays: plane's late getting there to pick you up, takes longer than it should to get luggage and people in place, then you sit on the tarmac for a while because of weather delays at O'Hare or some other far-off airport. But you have to get to the airport early to deal with security theater.

The time we were stuck in the airplane at O'Hare, still attached to the terminal, with a dead APU and no start truck for like 45 minutes. In high heat. Air conditioning needs the APU to run. Bastards didn't even pass out extra drinks.

Airport food is crap and overpriced. Especially at O'Hare.

Other pax who think it's their $DEITY-given right to shove too much crap into the overhead bins and bang on the stew-call button all night on a red-eye flight.

So piddly little stuff like "baggage neutrality" doesn't even enter in to how much I loathe commercial air travel.

Uhm... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063059)

Isn't this going to actually make more work for the airlines, more delays because they have to wait for all the baggage so they can do LIFO loading?

And what's going to happen if you have a multi-leg flight with different carriers? Is the other carrier going to inconvenience itself to help this guy's money-making scheme?

In other words (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063065)

In other words, they'll specifically hold your bags back unless you pay for them to be handed over at the same time as those who have been paid for.

So why not skip the "which order" diversion. Set a time limit - two hours perhaps - and have you pay, oh, one dollar per ten minutes you want your bags earlier than that. You want your bags within the first ten minutes after landing you pay 12 dollars. You only got a fiver then the staff will be happy to let your bags stand in a corner for the hour or so you didn't pay.

Could extend this with a same-company service, where, if you're connecting to another flight by the same company you only need to pay that dollar charge, whereas if you're connecting to a competitor the price is five dollars per ten minutes.

And really, why stop there? You want to go to the bathroom in-flight? Make sure you bring change on board. Or perhaps a "seat guarantee" would be nice - the ticket you bought is a lottery one, and depending on how much you pay you get better or worse odds on actually getting on your flight in the concourse seat raffle. A premium charge - say three times list - will guarantee an actual seat in the flight you've paid for.

Pay us more money... or.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063071)

.. something may happen to your luggage.

No difference on flights to the USA (1)

Tim Ward (514198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063079)

I can't see this making any difference. You spend so may hours standing in queues being stared at by men with guns[#] looking like they're just itching to use them that all the baggage has been put out looooong before you get to the baggage hall.

But perhaps it makes a difference to USA internal flights? Do you not bother with all those security delays on internal flights then?

[#] Not something Brits are used to, of course, so just seeing a gun is a threat.

Re:No difference on flights to the USA (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063175)

Hours? I flew from Midway to Philadelphia and then back the same way a few weeks ago. I was running behind in Chicago and it took less than 30mins to get from my vehicle into the plane.

That was on Friday. Granted I had already check my baggage earlier, but it still wasn't bad.

Re:No difference on flights to the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21063177)

Ah yes. The traditional British OMG GUNS R SCARY!!!!!!!!111!!1!2

Long-term profitability (2, Interesting)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063165)

Yes, I'm sure this will increase the long-term profitability of Mr. Tilton's business enterprise. Imagine the happiness one must feel settling down into an industrial bank of chairs at the gate, knowing that for just a few dollars more per ticket, one has secured the incalculable benefit of a different colored baggage tag. Much like a different-colored credit card or checks with pictures on them, the knowledge that one is, in actual fact, a big shot must be splendid. Why, I'm nearly overcome with joy knowing that for just a few dollars more on my taxes, I've summoned into existence an entire army of highly trained professionals who are ensuring that rather than the coffee I've brewed at home, I am enjoying, while seated in those industrial chairs, only the finest brew, made from beans blessed by a bored TSA agent who languidly waved through a man he's met every day of his job, pushing the same cart of restaurant supplies to the same place. As a happy side-effect, I'm protected from the dangers of e. coli in my juice and cryptosporidium in my water.

This sense of serenity is surely not measurable by such pedestrian metrics as dollars and hours.

Flying is for the birds... (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063185)

I end up doing it a couple times a year, and only because I live on the east coast, and my fiancee is doing her doctorate on the west coast, and it's not an option to drive or take the train when you only have a week or two of vacation time.

Other than that, there's no way I'll get on a plane, unless I have no other option. The cattle market in front of security is the least safe place in an airport. Whenever someone does get around to trying out another suicide bombing in the US, it's going to be in the middle of one of those huge masses of people waiting around to go through security. In our utter stupidity, we've provided a terrorist's dream target, that "security" can't do shit about. I'm sure several of the times I've been pulled to the side and "given special attention" are because I'm probably obviously worried about standing around in the middle of a nice big bullseye.

This is why I wish we had a rail option... (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | more than 6 years ago | (#21063257)

This is yet another reason why we need a realistic rail option. Listen up Amtrak, we need cheaper tickets or substantially better service to give us a realistic option for non-air travel. Personally, I'd be more than willing to sacrifice a day or two getting there if the travel was comfortable, the food was good, and there was decent entertainment beyond an in-flight movie. Oh, and please start ALLOWING PETS AGAIN!!! They used to be allowed, so I know you can do it...
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