Should airlines charge for carryon bags and not for checked ones?

George Hobica, June 20, 2008
Fares from Washington DC:

    Here's an idea: Instead of charging for checked baggage, why not charge for carry-ons instead? That's what Mark N. Katz suggests in this article. With passengers rethinking those bulky carry-ons to avoid such a fee, security lines and boarding times could be seriously reduced. So which one would you rather pay (and no, smarty pants, 'neither' isn't an option here)? Checked bag fees that passengers will probably try to avoid by feverishly stuffing as much as possible in a carry-on, which could lead to longer security lines? Or a carry-on bag fee that could potentially reduce wait times? But don't let us sway you. Tell us what you think in our latest reader poll.

    And if you're old enough to remember, back in the good old days of flying, there was no such thing as carryons. Airlines just had basically hat racks to put your coat and hat on, and no bins that closed. You were only allowed to bring one of those cute little airline flight bags you see sold on eBay sometimes. And a little reading matter, and a camera. That was it. Maybe we should go back to the good ole days.

    What do you think? Leave some comments below!  I've copy pasted some of the emails we've already received on this topic, below.

    ----------

    In response to your survey question about which I would prefer a fee for checked baggage, or a fee for carry-on. Checked baggage might be a viable option if the airlines had a better track record of making sure my baggage arrived when I did at my destination. At least with carryone (or my favorite plane side check-in) I know my belongings will be where I am and not sitting in the baggage area of another airport.

    ----------

    I would much prefer that the airlines charge for carry on bags. If they did, maybe I wouldn't get hit in the face by overloaded backpacks as often!

    -------

    Concerning charges for checked baggage on airlines, I much prefer that travelers be charged for carryon baggage! Not the ladies' handbags or reasonably sized tote bags/computer cases, but suitcases! I don't know how many times I've waited forever in the aisle being unable to get to my seat awaiting someone trying to stuff their suitcase(s) into an overhead bin. Fully agree that charging for checked baggage will create even more of that type problem!

    ---------

    Regarding the article about charging for carry on's - No Way! I carry one bag and a laptop bag and I do not want to trust my stuff to the checked baggage nightmare. My bag fits on the regional jets like CRJ50's so I defnitely don't overstuff it nor hold up the crazy security lines... I travel too much for that kind of headache!

    ---------

    Charging for carry-on instead of checked baggage - I THINK IT'S A GREAT IDEA. Pass it on ....

    -----------

    I would prefer first checked bag be free and first carry on be free. Charges would only for second bags, checked and carry on

    ----------

    Since we only use one carry on bag per person and do not check any bags this would not be a good solution for us. To make it equal for everyone, have all passengers put all their luggage on a scale and have it weighed along with the passangers weight.

    ------------

    Yes, why the heck didn't the airlines determine charging for carry-on luggage would be a better option than charging to check luggage? Mark N. Katz couldn't of spelled it out any clearer! Now the airport security lines (searches) will taken even MORE time to get through. Charging passengers to check their carry-on luggage is only the beginning of yet more airline travel nightmares!

    ----------

    I like the idea of charging for carry-ons and allowing the first checked bag free! I am usually traveling with both a computer bag and a clothing bag that would fit overhead. But, I don't travel enough anymore to warrant preferred boarding, so that means a race to find a place for ANY carryon! Why not charge those who travel for business on a regular basis and prefer to carry on? They're usually on expense accounts and can charge the fees back to their companies. Besides, even if I can find a space for a carry-on, I'm short and not as strong as I was when I traveled on business. The baggage charge is also a real deterrent to any traveler who is less than perfect or physically fit. That's discrimination! Maybe AARP should take up this cause for older travelers.

    ------------

    I think charging a fee for carry-ons is great idea. Let everyone bring on a briefcase and/or purse no charge, but check everything else.

    Comments