Why All Airlines Should Offer Free Checked Baggage

How many times have you reached the departure gate for a look of horror to appear on your face? Along with your cabin-sized suitcase, everybody else also has a cabin-sized suitcase. What if there was a different way?

Check Carry On Free
Passengers should be able to check carry on items for free. Photo via Pixabay

Traveling with cabin baggage is almost a given in this day and age, however, it is something I personally look to avoid. Why? Because by doing so, traveling becomes much easier. Stick around with me as I explain why airlines should check carry on bags for free.

Limited capacity

The primary issue with carrying on suitcases is their size. According to easyJet, their aircraft has space for 70 suitcases in the cabin. Now, when an A320 carries 180 passengers, this means that only 40% of the passengers will be able to travel with their bags. With the exception of Ryanair, carriers in these situations tend to check baggage for free. However, this is often done at the gate after lugging the bag through the airport.

But why bother? When it is so much easier to check a bag in at the check-in desk, it seems counter-intuitive that most airlines would like to charge a premium for this.

Check Cabin Luggage Free
easyJet allows passengers to pay for its Hands-Free service. Photo via Pixabay

The benefits

There are benefits for both passengers and the airline to allowing passengers to check-in their cabin bags. Firstly, let’s look at the benefit for the passenger. When traveling I make sure that there is nothing I need in my suitcase. The reason for this is due to the fact that I don’t want to have to rummage around in my suitcase in the overhead locker at 36,000ft.

By checking my hand luggage in for free, I am able to forget about that suitcase until I arrive at my destination. There is no lugging it around the airport, and no faffing about at security. In fact, using easyJet’s Hands-Free program, you will even receive priority boarding as you don’t need to fight for locker space.

However, there would also be benefits for the airlines. Assuming almost everybody had a carry on suitcase, a large proportion of these would need to be gate checked. This involves the boarding staff having to write up tags, and wasted time as the whole procedure is completed. By contrast, if these bags were checked in, there would be less of a fight for space on board the aircraft.

Why All Airlines Should Offer Free Checked Baggage
Such a program could save time when boarding aircraft. Photo via Pixabay

Change of attitude

However, people are somewhat attached to traveling with their bag, driven by a need to leave the airport quickly. As a result, passengers could be reluctant to check their bag in, even if the service was free. The answer to this is a nudge from the airline.

While Eurowings provides text alerts about free bag drops, other airlines could potentially offer incentives to encourage passengers to part with their bag for a few hours. Ultimately, however,  airlines are able to make substantial ancillary revenue from checked baggage, so it is unlikely anything drastic will change soon.

Would you check your cabin bag in for free? Let us know in the comments!