easyJet announces new baggage policy, introduces smaller size hold bags

UK-based low-cost carrier easyJet has announced a new baggage policy with the introduction of a new smaller size hold bag to provide customers with more choice and flexibility.

As part of the new baggage policy, the airline will now allow a new 15 kg hold bag option, as well as an increase to the standard bag allowance from 20kg to 23kg. The new 15kg bag is a convenient option for shorter trips as passengers can now also take more in their hold bag without having to squeeze everything into the cabin bag.

The new 15kgs and 23kgs hold luggage options are available exclusively online effective from November 16, 2017 and start from £8.99 for 15kgs and £13.99 for 23kgs. The new weight allowances apply to new bookings only. Passengers who have already booked a 20kg bag for future flights will be subject to the old policy, easyJet said.

easyJet is the latest airline to limit the number of heavy bags allowed on-board as hand luggage.

Andrew Middleton, Director at easyJet said: ‘In the last year almost half of our passengers’ hold bags contained 15kgs or less, whilst there were also millions of customers who required more weight than we previously allowed with the 20kg bag. Our new products better match those customers’ needs, ensuring we offer value for money choices for everyone, regardless of trip type or duration.’

The airline added that customers will continue to be able to pool their total weight allowance when travelling with family or friends on the same flight and booking. Customers who have already purchased 20kg for future flights will keep their existing allowance and will still be able to add weight to their bags up to 32kg as per the prior policy, it said.

easyJet carries over 78 million passengers annually, of which more than 12 million travel on business. easyJet flies on more than 880 routes to over 140 airports across 31 countries.

London City Airport introduces Europe’s first Luggage Transfer service

London City Airport (LCY) has introduced a brand new service – AirPortr – for air travellers enabling passengers to travel lighter.

The first business of its kind in Europe, AirPortr provides a secure luggage transfer service for business as well as leisure travellers. Bookable in advance or on the day, the service incorporates features including applying tamper-secure seals on luggage, real-time GPS tracking and driver profiles.

International and domestic visitors can leave their bags with AirPortr’s on-site concierge on arrival at LCY and head straight to their meeting or event without the need to carry the heavy baggage around. The luggage is then delivered, and would be waiting for them, at their hotel, office or serviced apartment.

Matthew Hall, Chief Commercial Officer at London City Airport, said: ‘Almost two thirds of passengers using London City Airport are business travellers, choosing LCY for the convenience it offers. The airport is within easy reach of Canary Wharf, the City and central London (all under 25 minutes by public transport), and departing passengers can transit from door to gate in no more than 20 minutes while arriving passengers can make it from tarmac to train in 15 minutes.

The new baggage collection and delivery service from AirPortr makes it even easier for business people to get the most out of their trip while enjoying a trouble-free journey outside the airport.’

Randel Darby, AirPortr CEO and Founder said: ‘Time is so valuable so not having to worry about taking your luggage from meeting to meeting, avoiding taking a taxi in rush hour traffic, not going to your hotel before your first meeting saves valuable time and enables you to be more focused.’

On an outbound journey, the luggage is collected beforehand and delivered to the airport ready for the passengers to arrive for check in. All outbound baggage is scanned off-site before delivery to ensure security, in addition to the usual airport checks.

AirPortr is being described as an affordable luxury, with two bags delivered from London City Airport to the West End for £30.

 

British Airways begins customer trials on the digital bag tag

British Airways (BA) has begun customer trials of the personalised digital bag tag developed by the airline, at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.

Employees from Microsoft are monitoring the month-long trial by using a specially adapted version of the British Airways app for all necessary feedback to help in the design of the final product. The tag has already been tested comprehensively to ensure that it works in a live airport environment and can withstand the meticulous airport baggage systems and everyday travel.

Glenn Morgan, British Airways’ head of service transformation, said: ‘The customer trials take us another step closer to making the personalised digital bag tag a reality for our customers. We’re grateful for Microsoft’s support during the trial, which will help us shape the future of checking in for flights.

‘British Airways has a long history of innovation. The digital bag tag is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to developing new technology and holds the promise of making checking in for flights even quicker and smoother.’

Anand Krishnan, general manager, developer and platform group, Microsoft Ltd, said: ‘Working with British Airways to help shape the future of one of the company’s key customer experiences is something we’re very proud to be involved in.’

Customers involved in the trial will use their Nokia Lumia Windows Phone to check in, choose their seat and obtain their mobile boarding pass. Each will be equipped with the British Airways app, which automatically updates the digital bag tag with a unique barcode that contains the new flight details and the bag’s destination, just by holding the mobile phone over it.

The digital bag tag, which will eventually do away with the need for a new paper tag each time one flies, has a battery life of up to five years and will be compatible with all smartphones. It has been specially developed by British Airways, in partnership with Densitron Displays, and Designworks Windsor.

The development of the personalised tag is part of a wider strategy by British Airways to improve the customer experience through the airport, making it quicker, smoother and easier. British Airways is investing more than GBP5bn in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies that are intended to make air travel more comfortable for passengers.

Airport staff decides for strike action in pay dispute

The check-in staff and baggage handlers at the UK’s four busiest airports have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay, Travel Weekly has reported.

Staff and workers at the ground handling company, Swissport, based at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted, have voted in favour of strike action. A poll by Unite union members has seen 94 percent voting in favour of strike action, based on a turnout of 50.5 percent.

Following the vote, the company has called for an urgent meeting with the Unite union, which is taking place today.

Unite national officer, Oliver Richardson, said: ‘In the light of this overwhelming mandate for action, Swissport has requested talks which we are happy to attend so we can try to resolve this matter.

‘The dispute centres on the company’s decision to freeze workers pay for eighteen months, from April 2012 through to October 2013, followed by a below-inflation increase of just 2.5 percent.

‘Our members are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living,’ he said, adding that the union believes Swissport is failing to recognise the contribution that its staff members are making to the success of the company.

‘We hope that over the coming days we will be able to thrash out a deal with the company but this will depend on whether the company is prepared to move on from its current position on pay,’ said Richardson.

Swissport International Limited provides ground services for around 118 million passengers and handles 3.5 million tons of cargo a year on behalf of some 650 client-companies in the aviation sector. With a workforce of around 40,000 personnel, Swissport is active at 181 stations in 37 countries across five continents.

In the UK, Swissport’s clients include Ryanair, Thomas Cook and Thomson at Stansted; Monarch, Thomson, Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates at Manchester; Monarch, Thomson, Thomas Cook, Virgin and British Airways at Gatwick and Virgin at Heathrow.

Courier cheaper than airline baggage fees

Airline baggage fees, including those of budget airlines such as Ryanair, are becoming so expensive that it can be cheaper for holidaymakers to use a specialist courier to ship their luggage to their destination, new consumer research shows.

The finding is part of the investigation conducted by consumer regulator, Which!, into the cost of luggage on budget airlines. Which! found that holidaymakers and families can make significant savings by sending their summer luggage to their destination by courier. Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair was found to be the most expensive of the six low-cost airlines surveyed.

According to the research, courier firm, SendmyBag, is almost $10 cheaper when compared to Ryanair’s charge to send a suitcase from London to Malaga in Spain. Ryanair charges $55 to put a standard 20 kg suitcase into the aircraft hold on a one-way flight to Malaga, $10 more than what SendmyBag charges for the same weight.

The researchers said that golfers could also save significantly by sending their clubs with couriers rather than using airlines. The transport of golf clubs using budget airlines could cost over $1,000 for four golfers, but less than half that with courier firms.

Ryanair is not alone in imposing demanding fees for carrying holiday luggage items. The investigation found that four of the five luggage couriers surveyed were cheaper to transport a 30 kg golf bag from England to Spain than Jet2, Monarch, or Thomson Airways.

Airlines around the world are expected to make approximately $36 billion each year from ‘upsells’ and additional fees, such as those for extra luggage allowance.

A Which? spokesman said: ‘It’s surprising that it can work out hundreds of pounds cheaper to get sports gear chauffeured to your destination rather than putting it in the hold.’

However, ‘The downside of using a courier company is that you need to be more organised, as the standard delivery is likely to take a minimum of three working days to be there on arrival,’ he said, adding: ‘You’ll also have to check your hotel is happy to receive it.’

Gillian Edwards, spokeswoman for travel association, ABTA, said: ‘I think if people are planning to take something away with them which is particularly bulky, then it may be worth looking at other options, including couriers.

‘We advise passengers to check the weight allowance for hold and hand baggage as they change and it can be very expensive to pay for extra at check-in,’ she added.

 

‘Think small, think smart and think safe,’ says international travel expert

‘Think small, think smart and think safe,’ when it comes to carry-on baggage, says international travel safety and security expert Dr. Todd Curtis of AirSafe.com.

In ‘Baggage & Carry-on Advice,’ the first in the series of ‘The Art of Travel,’ Dr. Curtis explains a reasonable approach to avoid any problems with carry-on baggage while onboard the aircraft. It remains a fact that one of the most common frustrations that passengers face when they plan or pack a trip often revolves around baggage. Be it about what is allowed or prohibited on the aircraft, or what kinds of baggage fees may apply, there are always too many rules for any passenger to remember.

Dr. Curtis summarises his advice into three travel plan capsules – think small, think smart and think safe:

Think small

No oversize packages or luggage can be stowed onboard.

The maximum size carry-on bag for most airlines is 45 linear inches -the total of the height, width, and depth of the bag. Anything larger should be checked.

Carry only your essentials like prescriptions, personal hygiene items, passports and other documentation and valuable items, such as jewellery or cameras in your carry-on bag.

Think smart

Try to check maximum of the baggage and carry less with you in the cabin.

Verify with the airline before packing to see its carry-on guidelines on the number of items one may carry and the maximum size of those items.

Always have contact information on or inside your carry-on, in a clearly visible manner, so that if the airline has you check it at the last minute you will be able to identify the bag after you arrive, or will help the airline find it if the bag gets lost or delayed.

If the airline may require most or even all of your bags to be checked in certain situations, including the carry-on bag, be prepared to have all your valuable or essential items in a bag small enough to fit under the seat.

Think safe

Carry-on baggage and other items that may fall from overhead bins can injure you or other passengers during flight or in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Don’t stack items in the overhead storage bin.

Stow heavy items under the seat in front of you, not overhead.

If an emergency evacuation is required, leave your carry-on items on the plane.

Remember to be safety conscious when stowing your carry-on items.

Published as e-books, ‘The Art of Travel’ series will feature original articles as well as a compilation of articles published on its travel websites and newsletters, offering tips and advice that global travellers likely need to know to make intelligent decisions before, during and after a trip.

British Airways set to launch hi-tech luggage tag

Leading UK-based airline company British Airways is set to start the trial of its new hi-tech luggage tag.

The state-of-the-art electronic luggage tag will replace the need for a new non-reusable paper tag every time one boards a flight.

The company has partnered with creative product design consultancy Designworks to develop a high-tech replacement for the traditional paper bag tag. After checking in, passengers would only need to swipe their smartphone over the reusable tag featuring a scannable barcode. This would automatically update it with a unique barcode containing all the necessary flight information as well as a view of their bag’s destination.

Frank van der Post, British Airways’ managing director of brands and customer experience, said: ‘This is a fantastically simple, yet smart device that gives each customer the choice to have their own personalised electronic baggage tag that changes with the swipe of a smartphone – every time they fly. As the saying goes, ‘good things come in small packages,’ and this innovative device is no exception.’

‘Along with other initiatives we are investing in, we believe it has the potential to revolutionise the way our customers check in and pass through every airport around the world in the future,’ he added.

Passengers will be able to use the electronic tag several times, with the flight details replaced every time he or she flies. The new tags will also save passengers time at the check in as they can quickly scan them at the bag drop and go straight through security to relax at the lounge or proceed to board their aircraft.

Wizz Air to charge for carry-on bags

Those passengers travelling with Wizz Air, a Hungary-based airline, from any British Airport, should be prepared to pay for hand luggage as the airline has announced a new cabin baggage policy.

From October 4, 2012, passengers booking Wizz Air tickets for travel from October 24, 2012, onwards, will only be allowed a small cabin bag of up to 42 x 32 x 25cm free of charge. All other kinds of bags taken as carry-on luggage will be charged a fee of £9 per bag.

The airline has previously tested its new airline baggage policy on its Luton Airport to Katowice (Poland) route, and claims very good results. Since August 1, this year, passengers on the route have been paying €10 for a larger piece of cabin baggage, a step that the airline has taken to control the problem of lack of storage space on smaller aircraft.

Michael Powell, the chief financial officer of Wizz Air, said, ‘When it comes to low fares Wizz Air knows no half measures! Wizz Air is announcing its new and innovative cabin baggage policy after a successful trial confirmed that more onboard space and cost savings are achieved when passengers bring less large bags into the cabin.

With the vast majority of passengers willing to bring smaller bags on board we are now the first European carrier to eliminate a chronic problem in the airline industry faced by all airlines, but, even more important for consumers, Wizz Air is again pioneering in delivering lower fares by passing on the cost savings in the form of discounted fares for all passengers.

We leave it for high fare airlines to tackle their costs by raising fares and levying unavoidable fuel surcharges while Wizz Air passengers will continue to pay only for the services they use. Today we encourage our passengers to travel smart and bring only a small bag on board. To pass on the expected cost savings we are immediately discounting by £4.50 all fares available for booking under the new cabin bag policy at wizzair.com.’

US Airways piloting bag-fee reports for corporate clients

US Airways is piloting a bag-fee report that is to be offered to corporate clients.

The airline is to offer client-specific data on bag fees. In its monthly reports, the airline will detail the number of bags checked by corporate travellers, the sum of fees paid as well as the number and value of fees that had been waived for frequent flyers. Travel buyers may use the information as key data to enhance business.

The airline is following similar initiatives launched last year by Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. A broad rollout of the programme is expected soon and will also include data for June.

The carrier said that the new set of data would be included in its ‘US Analyser’ monthly reports. The report already details metrics such as ticketed data, top markets, contract performance, the value of negotiated savings, opportunities for further savings and other client-specific performance details. US Airways said that the baggage fees would be the only ancillary expense that would be covered in the report, with a possibility that coach-class Choice Seats could be integrated into the reports later.

The company could provide a further breakdown of the data into specified time periods, on demand.

Flybe Offers Increased Hand Baggage

Flybe, a UK-based airline company, is allowing increased hand baggage sizes for its passengers, with immediate effect.

The airline is now allowing passengers to carry larger hand luggage, with maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 23cm, providing up to 20 percent more baggage space for travellers, from the previous baggage allowance.

Simon Lilley, the airline director of marketing, said, ‘Flybe has listened to our passengers’ feedback in relation to hand-held luggage so have worked on maximising our carry-on dimensions to the greatest possible allowance that can be accommodated on our aircraft. We know that a lot of our passengers fly day returns or just stay overnight. They enjoy the convenience of hassle-free regional airports and this change will make travelling with hand baggage even easier.

To this end, we are pleased to have also secured a great offer for our passengers with Antler and hope our customers will consider taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase a spacious new carry-on bag that is a perfect fit at a perfect price.’

The airline is partnering with Antler brand luggage to offer a quality approved cabin bag for its passengers, which originally cost around £120, at a discounted price of £50.

Julia Bradley, the head of marketing at Antler, said, ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with Flybe who carry more domestic passengers than any other UK airline. That’s an awful lot of cabin cases to be stowed in overheard lockers and ours are not only light but also packed full of pockets to help passengers arrive at their destination organised and ready for their break. We look forward to working with Flybe and to providing more offers in the coming months to their customers.’