Could airBaltic’s Heavy Hand Luggage Spread To Other Carriers?

airBaltic has announced that its heavy hand luggage scheme has seen huge demand. The Latvian carrier currently offers eight kilograms of free hand luggage. However, upon payment of €9.99, the airline will increase this by 4kg. Could the heavy hand luggage scheme take off elsewhere?

airBaltic, Heavy Hand luggage
airBaltic is seeing huge popularity with its heavy hand luggage concept. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Hand luggage is a fairly important amenity for many travelers. In fact, some will travel with just hand luggage, while others will even pay for the privilege. For low-cost carriers, paid hand luggage is a vital revenue stream. Could other carriers profit from offering heavy hand luggage?

The concept of heavy hand luggage

Heavy hand luggage sees passengers voluntarily paying to take an extra heavy bag on board an aircraft. In the case of airBaltic, this sees passengers opting to pay €9.99. In exchange, they are able to take 12 kilograms of hand luggage, as opposed to 8.

Speaking about the success of heavy hand luggage, Martin Gauss, CEO of airBaltic said,

“Heavy cabin baggage is an innovative service and we see that it is continuing to grow in popularity. So far, the service has been growing by around 10% every week in volume terms, showing that our passengers appreciate the product.”

airBaltic, low fares, heavy hand luggage
airBaltic is a hybrid carrier offering low fares alongside a business class product. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Hand luggage is especially popular as many carriers are increasingly charging for checked bags. This is tied in with the fact that passengers increasingly don’t want to wait for their baggage at the reclaim belt. Additionally, many passengers are wary of losing their luggage even though it is a relatively rare occurrence.

Could the concept be applied elsewhere?

It is entirely possible that we could see the concept pop up elsewhere, however, it’s impossible to say for sure one way or the other. The concept could equally be applied to either low-cost or full-service carriers. However, the main problem is that many carriers don’t currently weigh hand luggage prior to a flight.

In terms of low-cost carriers, changing for hand luggage is something that we already see. Take Ryanair for example; the carrier already charges to take anything above a small item that will fit under the seat in front. Paying for extra hand luggage is already an incredibly popular option on Ryanair, and I can easily see passengers happily paying more to take extra baggage aboard Ryanair’s flights.

heavy hand luggage, airbaltic, low-cost carrier
Heavy hand luggage could be a popular choice for low-cost carriers. Photo: Bic (Wikimedia Commons)

On the other hand, I could also see the concept being applied to some more traditional carriers, especially in the economy class cabin. While the change wouldn’t be popular, it is absolutely plausible that passengers would pay for the privilege. Especially given the popularity of hand luggage over checked bags.

Would you pay extra to carry heavy hand luggage? Let us know in the comments!