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.