Friday, August 7, 2009

Why are Luggage Fees Uniform?

Last month I attended the Western Economics Association meetings in Vancouver and also flew to Dallas for a family reunion. On the way out, I flew Delta Airlines and other than leaving my luggage in the Twin cities, I had an uneventful flight. From Vancouver to Dallas and Dallas to Cedar Rapids I flew American, and while American delivered by luggage without a hitch, they charged me $15 for each flight to check my luggage.

This got me thinking about this checked luggage fee. Why do some airlines charge to check luggage and others do not? Is there a missed opportunity for profits, or are some airlines not trying to irritate their customers by charging them to check their luggage, something that was not an additional charge historically. (Ditto for food).

More interesting to me is: why is this a flat fee (uniform price)? If the argument is that fuel costs are driving the checked luggage fee, then why not charge based on the luggage weight?

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