Friday, June 13, 2008

To Check or Not to Check

photo by hoyasmeg

Some friends and I were lamenting the woes of the new in your face fees from airlines. I say "in your face" because really do they need to be so blatant? We all get it that fuel prices are climbing so anyone who can do common math understands that this also effects how much we'll pay to fly. Right?

Okay, I haven't exactly been watching ticket prices closely so I can't comment on how much they've gone up. But it just seems like poor strategy to break out fees for things such as bags. Nearly everyone who travels is going to bring something on to the plane. I guess punishing travelers who check a bag seems fair to those who don't, but why not just spread out costs among travelers and stuff it into the ticket price? The majority of those that don't check a bag are squeezing something into the overhead bin, thus still adding to weight and fuel consumption. Sorry, I've started ranting.

So back to the conversation...

What if instead of checking that first bag for $15 and a second for $25 (though I don't know why you need a second bag, just do laundry) you shipped all your stuff to your destination? Could work for vacations. And it would be nice not to haul luggage around. Heck, you could even have UPS or FedEx pick it up at your house.

Well, I decided to explore this option and did some online estimating. I used quick estimators for both companies. I plugged in travel from my home in Colorado to my friend's house in Malvern, PA and used a package size of 25 lbs. Here's what I got:

UPS Ground = $29.44

FedEx End of day (3 Business Days ) = $20.85

Either way not such a great deal over the $15 first bag fee.

P.S. For the above estimate I used "schedule a pickup" for both companies. I went back to see if the price would change by how I sent the package. It did!! If I drop my FedEx package off at FedEx staffed location the bill goes UP $5.00. If I use a self-service location it goes DOWN $2. If I use an authorized FedEx shipper it goes UP $3.00.


  1. Now they're even charging 2 bucks for sodas...

  2. Here's an example of why you would need to check a second bag. I am a bowler and really the only reason I fly is to get to the tournament site. Yeah, I could ship my equipment, but more often than not, I need them before I go and can't spare (no pun intended) the time to UPS or Fed Ex them. This little jab by the airlines will really affect us, so much so that I may not even bother with most of the tourneys anymore (nor will the 9 other people who travel with me), so who will be hurting now...looks to me like they just lost revenue, not gained it by any means.