Monday, May 19, 2014

Can you afford baggage fees?

Last week, J.D. Power released the 2014 airline satisfaction survey, which showed a record high for the U.S. industry. Considering how the fees have increased, the survey results surprised me. The biggest surprise was a quote from the head of the division that conducts the survey:
“It isn’t that passengers are satisfied with fees; it’s that they are simply less dissatisfied because they realize that fees have become a way of life with air travel,” said Rick Garlick, head of J.D. Power’s travel and hospitality practice.
So, let me get this straight…
Passengers are not truly more satisfied. They are just less dissatisfied because they are used to the fees?

When it comes to personal baggage, do we feel the same way?

We carry personal baggage about past jobs, bosses, coworkers, and relationships, into every day. Do we care how much it costs to haul that baggage around? Or, are we just used to it so we don’t notice the expense anymore?

When flying, passengers used to be able to carry as much baggage as they wanted for no charge. In life, those are people who never forget or forgive. They want all their baggage with them so they don’t gather more while on life’s journey. But, it is costly in one way or another to haul so much baggage around.

In recent years, airlines adjusted their fees to include $25-$40 for checked baggage and no fee for two carry-on items. In real life, some over-packers realized the cost for so much baggage was not worth it, so they crammed everything into the smaller carry-on sizes. Or, they packed more selectively. That might be like letting go of events from the past, ending one-way relationships, or even forgiving oneself. Downsizing our baggage is always a worthy exercise.

The most recent airline fee changes include charging for carry-ons. Maybe it is time passengers select what they bring carefully, only taking essential items along their journeys. Maybe we need to do that in real life too. Baggage is getting more and more costly. We don’t want to get to the end of our life’s journey and think, “Well, it wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible either.”