easyJet offers ‘Hands Free’ luggage option for passengers

easyJet, the UK-based European regional airline, has said that it has launched ‘Hands Free’, allowing passengers to check in their hand luggage at the Bag Drop desk for an extra fee.

At The Bag Drop Desk, luggage will be tagged as priority and taken care of through to the arrival airport. ‘Hands Free’ hand luggage will also be among the first to be delivered at the baggage belt at arrivals. The new ‘Hands Free’ service comes at a price of £4 per person, or £10 for a group bundle per flight.

Passengers choosing Hands Free will be given small plastic bags to carry their essential items onboard, and are free to take any items purchased at the airport on board. Passengers will also able to board first after those with Speedy Boarding.

Andrew Middleton, Ancillary Revenue Director at easyJet said: ‘We’ve seen a fantastic response from customers upgrading to the ‘Hands Free’ experience and we’re confident once you go ‘Hands Free’ you’ll never want to drag cabin baggage through the airport again.’

‘Alongside low fares and friendly customer service, our customers tell us that the airport experience is a hugely important part of their flying experience.’

The ‘Hands Free’ service has reportedly been a success since its launch in France this Spring, with over 9,000 passengers choosing the option in just four weeks. easyJet has now rolled it out across its entire network with the exception of London Gatwick, it said.

easyJet flies over 270 aircraft on more than 880 routes to over 140 airports across 31 countries. The UK-based low fares airline carries over 78 million passengers annually, of which more than 12 million are travelling on business.

Ryanair urges customers to comply with cabin bag rules to avoid delays

Ryanair, the Ireland-based European airline, is urging customers to comply fully with its cabin bag rules to help avoid boarding delays during this peak summer season.

The reminder to customers comes as Ryanair is preparing for one of the busiest seasons, with 97 percent of booking already in place for this summer. Ryanair allows passengers to carry one 10kg cabin bag and one smaller bag onboard. The normal 10 kg cabin bag can have maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size, while the smaller bag may be a handbag, laptop bag, or an airport shopping bag.

Due to space limitations, only 90 normal cabin bags of 10 kgs can be carried in the overhead locker cabin. Any additional normal cabin bags can be carried free of charge in the aircraft hold. Carry-on bags must fit in the sizer at the boarding gate and any oversized cabin bags will be refused, or where available, placed in the aircraft hold for a fee of GBP50/EUR50, the airline said.

However, customers may add Priority Boarding to the booking for an additional EUR5.00, to guarantee that their bag gets on board. The airline said that customers travelling on short 2-4 day breaks, who wish to ensure that their cabin bag doesn’t go in the hold, are advised to add Priority Boarding.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Despite our repeated messaging, some customers are still attempting to bring larger than permitted bags onboard, which are causing delays at the boarding gate. As advised, customers are permitted to bring a normal cabin bag and a smaller bag onboard.

However, many customers are repeatedly exceeding our cabin baggage allowance and we will be left with no choice but to review our policy should this practice continue.

Many of our flights are full given it’s the peak summer period and we urge customers to ensure that they travel with less carry-on bags where possible. Our aircraft can only carry 90 larger carry-on bags and our gate agents are rigorously enforcing our carry-on policy to avoid flight delays and ensure an enjoyable travel experience for all customers. Customers who wish to carry larger baggage are advised to purchase a checked-in bag.’

Customers who are travelling on holidays for longer periods and who wish to carry larger than 10kg bags are advised to select checked-in bags and check their luggage into the hold, Ryanair added.

Edinburgh Airport opens one-stop-shop for luggage needs

Edinburgh Airport has announced the opening of Luggage-Point – a retail and service arm of Weigh-ahead – in the airport’s new terminal extension, offering passengers a solution to luggage requirements.

The new Edinburgh store stocks luxury brands like Samsonite, Kipling, Trunki and Fiorelli. It also offers customers a dry-cleaning drop-off and collection service, as well as lost property, storage and bag wrap facilities – the first of its kind at the airport. The store is also the first retailer in the world to stock exclusive merchandise from Rise Gear – luggage products previously featured on the Canadian Dragons Den that can roll packing and storage all into one.

The Airport’s Shop and Collect service will be based at Luggage-Point, which will be open from 4:00am to 10pm.

Richard Townsend, Head of Retail and Property at Edinburgh Airport, said: ‘Having the new Luggage-Point store in our new terminal means that customers can have the choice of fantastic products and services in the one place.

‘We want to make the passenger journey as easy and stress-free as possible so the fact we can now offer services like bag wrapping and dry-cleaning will be a real benefit to our customers.’

Marc Stewart, a director of Luggage-Point said: ‘We’re extremely proud and excited not only as a company but as a family to be opening our new travel retail and passenger services store at Edinburgh Airport.

‘Edinburgh Airport is growing whilst committed to enhancing and improving the passenger experience. Luggage-Point shares the same philosophy and look forward to working with Edinburgh Airport to achieve these goals.’

Another first of its kind, Edinburgh Airport said that it will also install the new Best-weigh pre-check-in weighing units. Passengers will be able to check the weight of their luggage against the permitted allowance, whichever the airline they’re flying with. If too heavy, the system automatically calculates and advises of any potential charges. Located in the main check-in hall, the machines have inbuilt card payment facilities.

‘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.

BA trials electronic bag tag

The days of affixing a disposable paper bag tag to every item of airport luggage could be numbered as British Airways launches a trial of an electronic version of the luggage identification label.

The UK-based airline hopes that a successful trial of the state-of-the-art tag will save time and be a greener option for the future. It is designed for use by passengers that book in on line, and after completing the computerised process they will be able to update their details on the electronic tag by holding a smartphone above it. This will program the tag with a unique barcode that holds all of the passenger’s flight details.

At the airport the electronic bag tag will be quickly scanned at the bag drop, saving time for the passenger as it then goes straight through security. In BA’s estimation, the current bag drop that averages three minutes could be reduced to 35 seconds, and as the tag can be used many times over, it will also save the waste associated with the paper tags.

BA’s trial will initially be of an internal nature, with a view to it being extended to passengers during next year.

BA’s managing director, brands and customer experience, Frank van der Post, 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.’

A patent is pending on the electronic tags, which have been specially developed by the airline in partnership with Densitron Displays, and Designworks Windsor. Heathrow Airport is also assisting with the trials.

New luggage courier services: does this signal the end of expensive bag checking?

If you’ve ever queued to check in your luggage at one end of your flight and waited, nervously, for it to reappear on the baggage carousel at the other, you’ll appreciate what a stressful experience it can be. Furthermore, if you exceed the baggage allowance of the airline in question, you’re faced with the choice of paying excess-baggage charges on the spot or leaving some of your luggage behind.

In an effort to make life easier for business travellers, many companies now offer door-to-door luggage courier services, whereby they collect your luggage from anywhere in the world and deliver it to your destination before you arrive. Luggage courier services obviously cater for traditional baggage items, such as suitcases and trunks, but, if you’re intending to mix business with pleasure, you can also have your golf clubs, skis or other sporting equipment collected and delivered.

Using a luggage courier service means that you can turn up at the airport with just hand luggage, or no luggage at all, much closer to your departure time. What you’re doing, in effect, is creating a walk-on, walk-off service for yourself, with no unnecessary hanging around at either end. You’ll arrive at your destination in a relaxed frame of mind, safe in the knowledge that your luggage is waiting for you at your home, office or hotel.

Luggage courier service companies emphasise security, often wrapping your luggage in secure baggage wrap to prevent tampering en route and monitoring storage areas with CCTV. Indeed, many companies use state-of-the-art technology to track your luggage to its destination and inform you of its progress. Daniel Morris of Case Luggage said, “This type of service will be invaluable for anyone who wants a stress-free travel experience, such as families with children or business travellers who want to save time”.