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The Price of Flying Our Possessions

The principle of cause and effect simply highlights when something happens, it makes something else happen. The airline sector, and particular its new attitudes to baggage has become a text book case study of such a relationship, and one which continues to change flying habits. Good or bad for travellers? There are mixed opinions, but airlines have found a way to monetise the situation.

We may have all come to terms with what we can and can’t take into the cabin of an aircraft, but hand baggage rules about the number and size of bags and ticketing restrictions on baggage allowance remains a very confusing area, with very different rules from one airline to another. Even the most regular of air travellers can fall foul of the rules, especially on multi-airline itineraries.

In the past it was simple. You bought an airline ticket, had complimentary cabin and hold baggage allowance, and got fed and watered. Today, the range of fare options can be a minefield as airlines take advantage of technology advancement and changing passenger demographics to deliver a wide menu of options.

Granted, for many of the legacy carriers those original fares are still available. Like steak or lobster on the restaurant menu they are a tempting option and available at a price, but, we are increasingly turning to some of the cheaper options that have become favourable to our palate. The Low Cost Carriers, or LCCs, (Ryanair and EasyJet among them) may have struck a huge blow and broken the traditional airline offer, but in a world where travellers are demanding increasing personalisation, like rats after the Pied Piper, the legacy airlines have quickly followed.

That is where the ‘cause and effect’ comes in. Turning hold baggage carriage into a chargeable ancillary, while better meeting the requirements of customers, has ultimately resulted in more travellers attempting to squeeze belongings into cabin bags to avoid the what can be sizeable additional charges to check-in luggage. We all love a bargain, but it is obvious that if we can avoid paying for anything we will, especially when the cost of checking-in a bag can nowadays actually be more than we have paid for the original ticket. From being permitted two carry-on bags with almost unlimited weight restrictions to only being allowed a small cabin bag that must be placed under the seat in front, airlines now have vastly varying policies.