08 February 2008

Be careful where you speak... it will come around...Podcast now on ATW Online


Sorry I am travelling for a week. So the dispatches will be few. I am spending a week back in the old country. For several days I joined the UK commuters. I just don't know how they do it.

In the meantime here is a new link for the podcast chanel on ATW. It is now available.



04 February 2008

The Lemmings Are At It Again - United Introduces 1 Bag Policy


Take a leaf from the Seattle Supersonics basketball team who can screw up almost any lead they start with - United has introduced a new bag policy guaranteed to piss off just about everyone.

The new bag policy states:

"As of February 4, 2008, United has a new checked baggage policy. Non-elite Mileage Plus® members and non-members traveling on non-refundable Economy tickets within the United States, Canada and U.S. territories, may check one bag for free and a second for a $25 fee. The new policy applies to tickets purchased beginning February 4, 2008 for travel on or after May 5, 2008. "

According to NPR this should generate more than $100 million in incremental revenue which will be used to offset the increase in fuel. What next - charging passengers by weight?

So why is this screwed up?

1. It hits almost no one. Most people don't check bags these days thanks to those dandy little roller aboard thingies.
2. It will move what could have been checked onto the carry-on. This means Flight Attendants will be wrestling with more bags on board onto already crowded overhead bins. Frequent Flyers who know better don't typically check bags so now there will be less room for them. And there is a security aspect.... advanced anti bomb gear is focused on checked bags not carry-on.
3. What happens on a code-share flight? LH, US etc etc.

So congrats United - you have managed to upset....
Leisure travelers who need this facility
Business travelers who will now need to fight with the reduced room
Flight Attendants who have to do more work
Ground Handlers who have less to do
Security that is going to be harder to police.
Your Star Alliance partners who will be just as confused as their passengers

So lets put is into perspective. UAL's mainline and regional per pax revenue is about $257 with around 70 million pax carried. That means if every passenger was to pay an extra $1.43 cents then this would yield the same as the new bag policy. UAL - last year I flew 8 flights legs on you. I am happy to send $11.44 to cover my contribution as long as i don't have to put up with the extra hassle. But wait - I am a Premier Exec traveller so I get a waiver:

"As a valued Mileage Plus Premier Executive® member you will be exempt from this new fee. The number of bags you are allowed to check at no charge will continue to be in accordance with your Mileage Plus status and/or class of service flown."

This ranks up there with Delta's Zero Pillow policy.

Thanks but no thanks, I shall be moving my business elsewhere.