US Airways - Unintended Consequences
I took a flight on US Airways this week. I’ve been flying USAir a lot lately. They have started charging you to check bags. Mind you, I travel light and never need to check bags so I haven’t paid much attention to this “creative” pricing tactic.
I was unfortunate enough to get boarding group number six. I wasn’t sure why since my seat was 16C. It turns out the folks at USAir decided that it’s more efficient - for them at least - to board the plan by windows first and aisles last. As I recall that technique was tried and abandoned in the 90’s. Apparently lessons are hard to learn.
Needless to say when it was time for me to board there was almost no bin space. I’m one of the considerate airplane travelers. I bought a smaller bag that would fit easier into the bins and I always put my laptop bag under the seat in front of me.
In an effort to avoid paying the fee to check bags, more passengers are carrying them on the plane. Of course. Easy to predict that one. But here’s where USAir didn’t think it through. First, it took longer to board the plane. Toward the end it was just short of chaotic. Flight attendants were running around trying to get bags into bins, moving items around and moving up and down the aisle. You know those thingies at the gate to test the size of your bag? Have you EVER seen them used? Never. And there were very few laptop bags and purses placed under the seats. Second, when there is no more bin space where do the extra bags go? They get gate checked. Guess what? USAir has no process for charging customers to gate check bags. So…
If you don’t want to get charged to check your bag:
- Select a bag that is larger than the size checker thingy but small enough to fit through security (bin depth is about 21 inches)
- Carry it on the plane
- Don’t put anything under the seat in front of you
If they run out of bin space your bag will get gate checked to your final destination and you will save a few bucks. You’ll need it to pay for the $2 Coke they want to sell you.
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