Would You Carry Your Luggage To The Plane?

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.

60s_luggageSo 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?

By Szafi


6 Responses to “Would You Carry Your Luggage To The Plane?”

  1. 1 balint01 May 11, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I’m a bit sceptic as well, especially around these points:
    – liquids handling at airport security checks
    – weight and balance calculations (take-off weight calculation)
    – last minute passengers rushing through the airport with all of their big luggage
    – getting such luggage to the apron once the plane is at a gate with a corridor and passengers do not step on the ground of the airport
    – all these luggages in the airport buses that have no specific place for storing them
    – que for the luggage after arrival – on the apron (security)
    – only a particular order of passengers to pick up the bags will be available (I put mine in first (underneath the rest) but I’m also the first to get off the plane – who will move all the other bags so that I can get mine? Or will I have to standby at the plane for another 10 mins while everybody collects theirs?)
    – unclaimed luggage handling
    – damaged luggage handling
    Chances of a luggage being lost are theoretically zero with this approach, though. However, if somebody claims they put it down in front of the plane before taking off and can’t find it after landing, they will have no evidence (baggage tag) that they actually put a baggage in the hold.

  2. 2 szafi May 12, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    what buses? 🙂
    You walk to a Ryanair flight on the apron. Buses…. 😉

  3. 3 szafi May 12, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Ok, seriously: I know for Mr O’Leary it’s worth a lot to be in the papers as much as he can, because it is free PR, free advertising for Ryanair and yes, media loves him, because whenever he says something, there is always scandal around. But this time he should have consulted somebody before speaking. 🙂
    I can imagine the spokesman standing frightened between him and the reporters trying to clean up the ruins of the airline’s image. 🙂

  4. 4 Tinsie May 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Next thing, you will have to fly the steel bird yourself as they’ll decide it’s cheaper to operate without pilots….

  5. 5 sunil October 30, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    of course, this has become the preferred way today thanks to all the lost and damaged luggage issues. i travel most of the year and cannot remember the last time i checked luggage. the last time i did the airlines had lost it (delta). i sued in small claims court and settled – after 7 months!!! pathetic. but more on filing an airline complaint here

  6. 6 Brent Williams October 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Guys keep it light if that happens !!
    Don’t forget to check out Intelligent Luggage new self weighing suitcases which are available in the UK and the USA from next spring.
    No more excessluggage charges!!
    Happy Days

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