Amongst the constant changes in the airline industry, one above all has become standard all over the world on non trans-oceanic flights. Bag Fees. The airlines have realized that they can make billions in extra revenue annually by forcing you to pay for your luggage. Most airlines just charge for checked baggage at the check in counter, but the trend of charging passengers for their carry-on luggage is catching on, and you will see it on many discount airlines such as Frontier and Spirit Airlines in the US and Ryanair and Easyjet in Europe. On some of these flights where carry-on luggage is charged for you may be saving a few bucks by checking your bag at the counter, but for the airlines who still allow you to carry luggage on the plane for free, its still the best way to go.
There are several advantages to having your luggage with you while you fly.
- You know where it is at all times, the airline can’t lose it for you
- All of your items will be with you, everything you need for your trip
- Having your stuff with you will keep you flexible if you need to adjust your travel
- No waiting for bags when you deplane, off the plane and on your way
- You’re traveling light, less stuff to move around on your trip.
Once your bag is checked with the airline you can only hope that it arrives safely at your destination. Over the years the airlines have gotten much better at tracking luggage. The advancements in bag tracking technology keep coming and baggage operations are as efficient as they have ever been, but bags do still get lost from time to time. There are many factors that can delay bags, and the more complicated your travel is, the higher chance of your bags getting lost. Making a connection or two? Switching airlines? These are extra steps, more chances to lose the bag. By carrying on you take the airline out of it, save some money, and guarantee that you’ll have your stuff with you when you arrive at your destination. It’s a good feeling knowing that your items are safe by your side.
Have you ever checked your bag and then realized you wanted something out of it for your flight? Too late, you won’t see it until you arrive at your destination, just have to wait now, or buy the item at inflated airport prices. When you’re making connections the climates may change. Sometimes you’ll need some extra clothing for a cold flight, or at a chilly connecting airport. If all of your stuff is checked then you won’t be able to adjust your outfit.
Flight delays and cancellations may cause your travel plans to be involuntarily changed. In the event of an overnight situation it’s nice to have your items with you. If your airline can’t get you out the same day, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get your bag for the night. Often times the bags are automatically rerouted to the original destination, with or without you. When carrying on that won’t be an issue, there are more important things to consider than looking for luggage when facing a severe delay. Spend your time figuring out how you’ll arrive at the destination. If you carry on your luggage then you will be flexible. There may be times when changing your destination all together would make the most sense. Many cities have multiple airports with commercial service. If you’re flying into a different airport it’s likely that your checked bag would still go to the original destination, carrying on saves you the hassle of filing a claim for the bag and waiting for it to be delivered.
An opportunity to leave early will also sometimes present itself. If your bags are checked, the airline may not move your bags, leaving you at the destination early, waiting for the bags to arrive. Typically the airline won’t even let you go ahead of your baggage; you’d be locked in to your original flight.
When everything goes as planned with checked baggage you still can’t avoid waiting for the bags to come up on the carousel at your destination. I’ve seen this process take up to an hour, that’s just time wasted standing around. Above all else, when you carry on all of your stuff you are probably keeping it light. Travelling light keeps it simple, adds mobility, and you know that you can comfortably carry all of your stuff with you. So next time you’re getting ready for your trip, think about skipping the giant suitcase, trade it in for a small roll-aboard and a backpack or duffel. You’ll like the freedom you feel knowing that the airline can’t misplace your valuables, and possibly ruin your trip.