Sunday, May 27, 2012

airline seats

You know the drill. They try to board us by groups, but people are smashing on the plane like it's the New Delhi train station. When the plane is half full, the overhead bins fill up. Then people start dragging massive bags all the way upstream for gate checks. On and on it goes, tempers frazzling and  a few hundred million dollars of plane, costly crew, and my not so free time sitting idly on the ground.

So I have long wondered: why in the world do airlines charge $25 for checking bags, and not $25 for bringing huge bags on the plane? 

I finally found out the answer, here

Two years ago, [New York Senator Charles] Schumer got five big airlines to pledge that they wouldn’t charge passengers to stow carry-on bags in overhead bins. The promise came after Spirit Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to levy such a fee.
The article is actually about Sen. Schumer's latest great idea, to force airlines to seat families together even if said families don't want to pay the $25 fee for advance seat selection.

Next time you miss your connection because people took too long to stow their steamer trunks in the bins, you know who to thank.

Of course the larger picture is not the silliness of one individual, but the hubris of the Federal Government to try to regulate such things in the first place.


As the comments point out, taking forever to stow your huge suitcase is a classic externality, deserving of a congestion tax.

Airline and cell phone pricing in general strikes me as price discrimination by needless complexity, a topic for another day.


  1. I have a right to a congested highway. Thus, I have a right to a congested plane!

    Odd thing is, we already have the technology to charge according to total weight: Those scales at the check-in desks merely have to be used differently. Put you bags on, then you jump on, and presto, a ticket, with a price comes out!

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  3. Causes not only a delay at the boarding stage, but also the deboarding stage. You wait as people stand up to retrieve their items from the overhead compartments. And when they're jammed in there, it's a Siegfried & Roy-esque show as you watch them retrieve it. All the while imposing costs on those who either checked their luggage or had a small carry-on item.

    Not to mention you either are awkwardly half-standing in your seat or staring at everybody's mid-sections during the deboarding process.

    Yet, for the people who checked their luggage or had minimal items, going to the luggage terminal or grabbing your item from the seat in front of you imposes no costs on others (save for the luggage crew who puts and retrieves your item on and off the plane for which they are compensated).

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  5. Airlines should be forced to sit families together. That is a basic consumer right.

  6. An ignorant Senator is involved, I should have guessed.

  7. But if we agree to a fee, then the airplane has to shape up and not lose steamer trunks stowed in the hull. The right fee for a correct continuation value here of no lost luggage?

  8. John.
    Could you spend some time talking about rolling loans and why a corporation wants to stay in debt. If the corporation is in bed with the bank. I understand, but if the corporation has to pay interest, that don't fit except for tax breaks. Please give this some attention


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