baggage

Florida-based Spirit Airlines was roundly criticized in August 2010 when it announced that it was going to be the first – and so far only – airline to charge passengers up to $45 in fees to stow carry-on luggage in overhead compartments.  A pair of federal lawmakers even threatened to impose a tax on all airline revenue generated by such fees, a penalty that has yet to be adopted.

But the Los Angeles Times is reporting that an industry consultant on airline revenue has declared Spirit’s carry-on baggage fee a “major success”.  In the 12-month period after Spirit launched the fee, the airline flew 24.5% more passengers compared with the same period in 2009.  And it’s estimated that the airline will earn $50 million in revenue from carry-on bag fees this year.

No doubt such numbers look enticing to executives at other airlines – and while there’s rampant speculation that baggage fees will rise across the board – msnbc.com reports that there’d be an uproar in Washington, D.C.” if that happened.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Ever wonder what your luggage experiences after you hand it over to the airline?  Delta Airlines was curious too, so they drilled out a bunch of holes in a box, stuffed it full of video cameras, and sent it on a flight from Atlanta to New York after hitting all the record buttons.  Give it a watch.  It’s pretty cool.
  • Here’s an interesting flight safety factoid that will ease your mind:  According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of deaths in airline accidents globally is at the lowest level since 2006, the first year for which the IATA reported data in that category.  Through November, 486 people had died in air crashes, compared with the previous low of 502 in 2008.  By these numbers, you’re far safer 30,000 feet above the ground than you are in your car.
  • And yet another interesting factoid that will make you scratch your head:  According to SplatF, of the 355 million people who have flown on planes equipped with Gogo’s inflight Wi-Fi since 2008, only 15 million sessions have been logged, which means that only 4% of people are going online.  To put that in perspective, that’s about 2 – 10 people on average who pay for online access during each Wi-Fi enabled flight.  So why the low uptake?  Some think it’s the Wi-Fi quality.