25 October 2011

Unintended Consequences- The Airlines

We just got back from another trip to LaLa land. Every two years I make the trek to Torrance, CA, home of the Robinson Helicopter Company, to renew my Flight Instructor certificate. The school lasts three and a half days and includes a flight of at least an hour in either the R22 or R44. (For interested helicopter pilots, the company will be adding the R66 to the list of aircraft you can fly starting January.) I have been alternating the aircraft I fly each time I attend... two years ago I flew the R22, this year I flew in the R44. Next time out I'll probably fly the R66. I expect to find the R66 is very "JetRanger" like, only lighter, faster, and more fuel efficient.

We participate in the Frontier Airlines frequent flyer program and had enough miles to use on this trip. When I made our reservations I was surprised to find Frontier Airlines intended to charge us $20 for each bag we intended to check. This presents a problem for this family...
The bag containing Sara Jean's hair care, cleaning and moisturizing, and makeup products is about the size of a 15 cu. ft. freezer, and she is VERY attached to all of these products.
I worried that trying to convince her to limit her "stuff" to a single carry-on bag would be met with wailing and gnashing of teeth.
She surprised me. "Twenty dollars! That's highway robbery!"
And when we left the morning of our flight I was surprised at how well she had packed...
Her carry-on bag met the carry-on requirements... It just WEIGHED as much as a 15 cu. ft. freezer!

Getting to the gate to board our airplane was an adventure this time and I may bore you with the details later. But waiting at the gate to board we heard this announcement:
"Ladies and gentlemen this flight will be full and all the overhead compartments may be filled. If you are interested in checking any of your bags, FREE OF CHARGE, please see me now and we will insure your bag arrives at your final destination."

So SJ's bag, weighing half as much as a Volkswagen, went into the cargo hold of the airplane and cost us nuttin'. I can't begin to tell you how glad I was that I wouldn't have to lift that sucker up into the overhead storage compartment! (And it happened again on the trip home.)

Now, watch with me and see how long this "first checked bag" charge remains in effect. (I already wrote to Frontier and gave them my opinion on the subject.)


Well Seasoned Fool said...

The overhead bin problem will only get worse. Before any passangers get on, the flight crew, cabin attendents, and any deadheads have already stashed their bags, two or three.

I rarely check a bag, free or not, as I carry things I cannot lose (Company data, personal CPAP, etc).

Old NFO said...

I'm going to guess it's here for keeps, and WSF is right... I watched a couple get on a flight last week with SEVEN carryon bags... And have a hissy fit when the Purser made them check 4 of them...

the golden horse said...

You would think for the price on tickets now, we would be allowed at least one bag, but the billions in profits they are making now, will most likely prohibit a return tom the good ole days.
On a trip to Europe, the airlines had only enough meals to feed less than half of the passengers. Not fun sitting here for hours smelling food, we would never get.
The airlines are out of control.