I found the following news today on an Australian news portal:
EUROPE’S largest low-cost airline Ryanair is looking at the possibility of getting passengers to carry their luggage all the way to the plane, cutting out the need for baggage handlers.
“We would say to passengers … take your own bag down through airport security, leave it at the bottom of the steps, we put it in the hold and on arrival we deliver it to the aircraft steps and you take it with you,” Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told a news conference yesterday.
Ryanair’s business is centered around cutting costs and the carrier is planning to eliminate check-in desks from October this year, saving up to 40 million euros annually.
An airline spokesman said the group would not pursue the luggage plan if it jeopardized their quick turnaround times. (Original sourc: Reuters)
Now let’s think it over for a moment. It is clear that if they close check-in counters completely, they get in trouble. We all know that luggage self-check-in does not work. People cheat with it, they screw up sticking bag tags properly on the luggage, they spend 10 minutes by sticking the bag tag instead of moving away from self check-in kiosks, so they queue up, which is not efficient at all. In the end it is always more simple to open up a check-in counter and have them pay an extra cost for checked-in lugagge. They actually do so. If you fly Ryanair, you will need to pay an extra lugagge fee. Wherever they launched it, they use carousels to take the luggage from the check-in kiosk to the security check.
So now instead of carousels and a central luggage assorter it is the passenger, who takes the luggage to security – which is actually the same security that checks on-board baggages. First of all how do they decide whether you can take a bottle of wine with you? If it is a checked baggage, it can stay there, if not, then leave it here for us? Or what?
Who weighs the baggage? The passenger? I can predict – although I am not a fortune teller – that there will be no overwiehgts any more. So how can a balance sheet be prepared for the ground staff? Is it safe?
Then the passenger takes the luggage to the stairs, puts it into a container, so the ground handlers will start loading them into the plane exactly when boarding starts. Because earlier no luggage can be left alone anywhere, otherwise it is a security hole again. For me it seems impossible to finish loading in time, but miracles can happen.
After the plane arrives it is fine that passengers take it from the container and they will not stand along a carousel again, but what about lost luggage? It would be fun to handle their claims right at the plane, when again loading starts for the return flight. Yes, I know, they can be directed to a customer management desk, but passengers are strange people: if they will see loading staff, they will try to convince them to go and look for their luggage again.
And what is it that they really save at the end of the day? A carousel that takes checked luggage to the central assorting place, then to the security and then to the aircraft, which is almost fully automized. I am not sure it is such a big deal. And on the other hand passengers pay for this service.
Well, I will keep my eyes on this story. I am too skeptic to believe this is actually going to happen.
How about you? Would you carry your checked-in luggage all through the airport to the plane?