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.

Should Business Travel Managers cut costs on Airfare?

In the past, travel managers only worried about getting the best deal, but times are changing. Nowadays, with tighter security, longer lines, and airline cramped seating, business travel agents value their employee’s comfort just as much as saving money.

Economy Flights Cause Stress

Should Business Travel Managers cut costs on AirfareMany corporations do not want their employees traveling on economy flights for business trips. The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) did a recent study and discovered that 63% of large companies do not permit their employees to book economy fares. The study also revealed that 79% of corporate travel agencies hide the basic economy rates. This is because travel managers feel their employees sometimes seem overwhelmed, since they couldn’t choose to sit with their colleagues and would often arrive at their destination exhausted.

Perks of Flying Business Class

There are many perks of flying business class that travelers do love. Many enjoy using the online check in app and priority boarding, which allows them to skip several lines and board first. Business travelers also enjoy taking advantage of roomier seating and complimentary lounge access on the plane. Many business travelers feel tired and stressed after a long flight and enjoy taking advantage of shower facilities in the lounge.

What Business Travelers Really Want

Business travelers crave ease and comfort. They prefer non-stop flights versus cheaper flights with layovers. This lessens the amount of time they wait around an airport, as well as the time in the air. They also value convenient flight times. Some business travelers would prefer to complete a trip in one day when possible, leaving early in the morning and returning the same night. Travel agencies can make business travel easier, in many ways, including hassle-free flight itineraries so that employees can relax. Business travel agencies also know how to get employees upgrades on their flight. They can also assist them in rescheduling a flight.

What the Future Looks Like for Business Travel and Airfare

Some airlines are just as interested in being creative as they are competing with other markets. Your corporate travel agency can tell you which airlines and airports offer specialized check-ins for large corporations, such as Microsoft or Amazon. They can also inform you which airlines offer their business class travelers extra perks, such as complimentary pajamas to wear on overnight flights.

Since so many business travelers say their job performance and satisfaction is based on their overall travel experience, it’s imperative that they feel relaxed and comfortable. Using travel management companies that are available 24/7 is a great way to start. These agents can help your corporation analyze their spending habits and make changes to your travel policy accordingly. It keeps employees involved in the process, and it allows for upgrades for their comfort. You’ll often find while the cost of savings may vary, you’ll have happier, more productive team members.

6 Ways to Cut down on Airport Wait Times

6 Ways to Cut down on Airport Wait TimesWaiting in long lines and sitting around at the airport can be a bummer, especially when you’re on a tight schedule when traveling for business. The process of getting from point A to point B takes time of course, but these tips can make it faster, easier, and more efficient.

1. Take an Early Flight

Early-morning flights (from about 6 am to 10 am) are less likely to be delayed than flights that take off later in the day. Heading out at off-peak hours can also help you avoid sitting in rush hour traffic and waiting in long airport security lines.

2. Book Flights with Minimal Layovers

The more stops you make, the longer it’s going to take to get to your destination. If you want to save even more time and skip waiting for connecting flights at the airport, book a nonstop flight.

3. Sign up for TSA Pre-check and Global Entry

TSA Pre-check can help you save a lot of time by avoiding long lines at airport security. You won’t have to remove your shoes, belt or light jacket and you can leave laptops and liquids in your carry-on. A five-year membership is $85, and all you have to do is submit an online application and visit an enrollment center for a short appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that permits pre-approved, low-risk international travelers to return to the United States using automatic kiosks at select airports; allowing you to breeze through customs and get home faster.

4. Use Mobile Travel Apps

Avoid unnecessary wait times by checking in online or using your airline’s travel app to get a mobile boarding pass. Airline travel apps also provide real-time updates on delays, cancellations and gate changes.

5. Pack Light to Avoid Checking Baggage

Packing light is always the way to go if you want to save time. From waiting to check baggage at the ticket counter to collecting your bags after a flight to lost luggage (oh no!), checking your bags can add hours to travel time.  With a carry-on, you can usually head straight to security as long as you have your boarding pass in hand. If you’re worried about running out of clothes, book a hotel that offers laundry service.

6. Plan Ahead

To avoid languishing at the airport, book ground transportation, check the weather and scope out the area you’re traveling to ahead of time online. That way, you’ll know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. If your flight is delayed or canceled, using a company that provides 24/7 business travel services can help you avoid the headaches that come with getting stuck at the airport. From finding rooms at nearby hotels, to booking last-minute flight alternatives or getting information on the perks available at the airline lounge, corporate travel agents can help you come up with a backup plan to make traveling for business speedy, smooth and stress-free.

5 Airline Perks Business Travelers Love!

Whether you’re heading to the airport for business, pleasure or bleisure travel, being a frequent flyer is often time-consuming and stressful. But hey, don’t despair—there are quite a few perks that are offered by airlines these days, especially if you are part of a travel rewards program or have elite status. These five perks business travelers love can help make your trip more smooth and enjoyable; and the more you fly, the more you’ll learn how to take advantage of the latest trends in the airline industry.

1. Online Check-in and Boarding Passes

Most airlines offer free online or mobile app check-in 24 hours up to one hour prior to departure. You can print your boarding pass or receive it on your phone by email or text so you don’t have to find a printer. Using an app and checking your luggage at the curb can spare you the time and hassle of waiting in line at the check-in counter and save your company money; as some airlines have started charging for checking in at the airport.

5 Airline Perks Business Travelers Love! GTI Travel

2. Priority Boarding

Most airlines allow first class and elite status members to board first, which can ensure that you’re one of the first people on and off the plane. This perk can prevent you from having to gate-check your bag and is especially valuable if you need to make connecting flights on a tight schedule. So how do you achieve elite status? By signing up for airline rewards programs and credit cards. Travel planning companies have experienced and knowledgeable corporate travel agents who can advise you on which airlines are best when it comes to achieving elite status, and ensure that you receive all the travel benefits to which you are entitled.

3. Free Upgrades

Policies for upgrades on both domestic and international flights vary from airline to airline. Delta, United and US Airways give complimentary domestic first-class upgrades to elite members, and American Airlines offers upgrades to gold and platinum members every 10,000 miles. Your business travel planning company can find out what you’re eligible for before you head to the airport and book your upgrade ahead of time if possible.

4. Free or Discounted Lounge Access

Long layovers can take a toll on the health and well-being frequent business travelers. Airport lounges may offer complimentary shower facilities and other amenities that can make lengthy itineraries a lot more pleasant and much less stressful. Many airlines offer discounted or free access to elite members, and credit cards such as American Express Platinum, Delta Reserve and United Club cards may offer access even if you’re not an elite member.

5. Easy Same-day Changes.

There are many different reasons you may have to take off earlier or later, and changing a ticket last-minute can be a real hassle. Some airlines prioritize elite members for standby flights and may even make same-day confirmed changes free. Using travel management companies that have agents available 24/7 is a great way to avoid having to deal with making these eleventh-hour changes yourself. If you need to make changes at the gate, being polite and friendly to check-in and gate agents doesn’t hurt either.

The Latest Trends in the Airline Industry: What You Need to Know

The Latest Trends in the Airline Industry | GTI TravelThings are frequently changing and evolving in the world of corporate travel. New challenges and trends are happening in every sector of business, but due to its competitive nature the airline industry changes at a particularly rapid pace. The latest trends in the airline industry have their plusses and minuses as they always do, so it’s a good idea to get a leg up on what’s happening on the ground and in the air.

Weighing Passengers

Finnair has just started a new program where it weighs not only luggage, but passengers before takeoff. The airline is weighing passengers to get a more accurate picture of the average traveler that flies with Finnair. Because the weight of the aircraft impacts things like fuel level, speed and balance, more relevant data may help Finnair plan its flights more efficiently. The program is voluntary and will continue into 2018. If you are concerned about the hoops you may have to jump through when traveling for business, a top corporate travel agency that provides global travel services should have access to extensive information on both domestic and international airlines and flights that can help you make flight choices that fit your schedule budget, and comfort level.

Better Customer Care and Service

It’s nothing new, but one of the top consumer concerns when it comes to flying is top-notch customer service. Airlines are not only investing in customer service and kicking it up a notch; they’re also getting more creative with how they deliver it. More and more airlines are offering web-based customer service and raising their standards for quality customer care. Using a business travel agency that provides comprehensive travel services can help you avoid the hassle of contacting the airline altogether if you need to make a reservation or change a flight at the last minute. Your company’s corporate travel agency will also give employees to forge relationships with dedicated agents who are available 24/7. These agents understand individual travelers’ needs and can quickly provide the service they require.


Airlines are constantly improving mobile apps that allow customers to check flight times and delays, check in and buy tickets. Although more airlines are offering ticket sales through apps, many corporate travelers still prefer to use an experienced business travel management company that offers convenient global online access to the best deals, flight times, upgrades and amenities.

These are just a few of the current trends that are happening in the airline industry. Airlines must innovate and provide incentives to attract customers and stay competitive, so look for even more new trends in the coming years. While airlines are trying to make it easier to fly, booking airline travel can be frustrating and time consuming, especially if you’re flying last minute or facing a complicated itinerary. Seeking the assistance of corporate travel agents who provide global travel services not only saves you time and money, it can help you cut down on stress and make flying for business travel less of a hassle.