Product Managers on the Road (eh)
Trading in Green

Fly the Friendly Skies

I have a suggestion for United Airlines.

You’ve seen/read about airlines charging for checking a second bag. You’ve seen American Airlines (always a leader in gouging their customers) take that a step further, by charging to check any bag. No offense, but they’ve got it all wrong.  I used to fly AA all the time (when my and their center of the work universe intersected at DFW) but switched to United because I thought maybe they were slightly better (based on the fact that they served Starbucks coffee) and because my work was taking me to Asia all the time... and flying to Asia from SFO is a lot easier than connecting through Dallas or LA.

So given that United (based on miles accumulated) is my Current Best Friend, I thought I'd offer my killer idea to them first.  No need to compensate me.  OK, shucks, if you really want to...

What you should do, United, is charge for taking baggage onto the plane. We’ve all seen passengers that flaunt the “one carry on” rule and take up most of the overhead space with their life’s possessions. We all recognize that those roll-around bags, while legal-sized, actually fit only if turned sideways, two to a row, meaning the third person is out of luck. And if ever there were a group of price-insensitive passengers, it’s gotta be the people who want to carry their luggage on.

American’s policy just encourages people to bring their baggage onto the plane. After all, it’s free. And what are they going to do if you bring on a bag and there’s no room? Charge you for it? Leave it on the tarmac to be blown up by security people? Come on!

By charging for carry-on baggage, you’ll get people to check their bags. And you can price-discriminate by having different levels of carry-on allowance with different prices. Want to carry on everything from Aunt Edna’s appartnment? Want to carry on everything from you kid’s dorm room? No problem, just fork over the dough! Capitalism at its best!

Next:  buy your legroom by the inch!


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