How Airlines are Changing the Baggage Game. Who is the Winner?

How Airlines are Changing the Baggage Game. Who is the Winner?Airlines in the U.S. collected nearly $5 billion in baggage fees last year. The cost of ancillary services in airline travel continues to rise, of which baggage plays a pivotal role. Though premium classes remain largely unaffected, passengers purchasing low-cost fares are taking an increasing financial hit as economy carriers create more complex pricing schemes, causing business travel planners to struggle to keep costs in check.

While baggage fees comprise 3% of total revenue for U.S. carriers, they make up a much higher portion of revenue for discount airlines like Spirit and Frontier, which rake in 19% of their income from baggage fees. Low-cost carriers are increasingly upping the ante, with a growing number of carriers worldwide now charging for carry-on baggage.

Understand the Baggage Game

Airlines aren’t exactly pocketing the nearly $5 billion in fees that frustrate budget-conscious customers. They are being leveraged by the airlines in tax arbitrage. The excise tax of 7.5% applied to domestic airline tickets doesn’t apply to the fees for your travel event, allowing airlines to reap significant tax savings, keeping hundreds of millions of tax dollars in their coffers.

Despite rising ancillary charges, passengers aren’t paying more for travel overall. Ticket prices typically fall with rising baggage fees. Instead, baggage fees are being used to secure traveling costs that would have previously been part of airline fares. However, this has pushed many travelers to carry-on baggage, slowing the boarding process, and increasing operating costs.

Alternatives for Checked Baggage

For those tired of being nickel-and-dimed at purchase or suffering the heavy financial penalties of dimension or baggage weight problems at the airport, there are alternatives. To prevent baggage costs from eclipsing ticket prices, try these cost-saving luggage alternatives:

  • Carrying on a duffel
    Cramming items in a carry-on is often the solution of choice for travelers eager to escape exorbitant checked baggage fees. These soft-sided bags are the most forgiving carry-on, with flexible fabric built for stuffing items within.
  • Shipping baggage
    For those that don’t want to lug baggage through the airport, battle the screening process, or go through the inconvenience of checking-in and seeking out checked baggage, luggage shipping services may offer an ideal solution. Unlike parcel services, luggage shippers specialize in the shipment of belongings to lodgings and hotel rooms. It often costs more than checked baggage, however, it saves time and hassle.
  • Sending yourself a package.
    The best travel management companies know mailing your luggage via UPS, FedEx, or USPS is often a more affordable alternative. Shipping one suitcase or luggage box, and costs will be about on par with carry-on baggage rates for economy airlines. If you’re checking heavy luggage or bringing multiple bags, however, you’ll see significant savings. Just be sure to plan ahead. Shipping rates vary by proximity to your travel destination, with average shipping times of 2-3 days.

Business traveling expenses adding up? Uncover cost saving travel solutions with the help of GTI Travel today.

Business Travel 101 For First Time Business Travelers

Business Travel 101 For First Time Business TravelersFor those new to business travel, the initial journey can be fraught with uncertainty and stress. However, with realistic expectations and key information, business travel can be quite an enjoyable experience. What do you need to know for your maiden voyage? Ensure a smooth trip with these corporate travel management tips for first-time business travelers.

Make Sure Corporate Travel Policies are Clear

A well-written, regularly updated corporate travel policy can quell the fears of many first-time travelers, ensuring compliance, and eliminating uncertainties surrounding reasonable and customary expenditures.

Schedule a Direct Flight

Booking in advance and choosing a direct flight saves time and prevents delays due to layovers, canceled, and missed flights. Sign up for frequent traveler programs to take advantage of perks on and off the clock.

Pack Mindfully

Carry-on whenever possible to avoid lost luggage anxieties, carrying a duffel or roller bag and laptop bag to stow beneath the seat during the flight. Make a packing list, beginning a week ahead, so you won’t forget important items, or leave them behind in a rush. Create a pre-packed toiletries bag that you restock on return for grab-and-go convenience. For clothes, pack practical, versatile pieces, including mix-and-match tops and pants, one pair of sneakers, and one pair of comfortable business shoes. Leave expensive jewelry and electronics at home to avoid travel snafus.

Ensure a Comfortable Trip

When possible, get TSA pre-check status or global entry to avoid long lines at security. Eat as healthfully as you can before and during your trip to avoid “travel tummy.” Don’t forget to hydrate, as this is a common cause for traveler fatigue. If possible, don’t join coworkers or superiors on the plane. It is unwise to discuss client relations in public. Instead, use flight time to gather your thoughts, plan trip goals, catch up on emails, or read.

Prioritize Your Week

On arrival, remain focused on the reasons for the trip. Outside of business, try to maintain a normal routine as much as possible, eating, working, exercising, and connecting with family on a schedule. This will help curtail jet lag. At business meetings or functions, immerse yourself in the office culture, networking, and building relationships.

Make the Most of Per Diems

Request a corporate credit card to avoid expense forms. Ensure a thorough understanding of company per diem policies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner expenditures, as well as other potentially covered items such as minibar snacks, room service, movies, dry cleaning, and transportation. Research local hot spots before your trip, looking into the local cuisine, activities, and events, so you’re not scrambling to find something to do after-hours. Business trips don’t have to be boring, and there are many ways to stretch your travel dollars.

Always Engage in a Post-Trip Review

Before diving into backlogged work and emails, inform management or team members about important details surrounding your trip.

Beat business travel butterflies. Plan for success with the help of the business travel management experts at GTI Travel today.