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Airlines applying an ever-tightening squeeze to passenger baggage

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The check-in luggage charges that the so-called LCCs (low-cost carriers) impose on passengers, Yukan Fuji (Aug 19) reports, is leading a greater number of travelers to carry as much as they can in their hand luggage. Not having to wait for checked baggage upon arrival also appeals to many travelers.

In response to the shifts in travel habits, luggage makers have been introducing new carry-on bags. These developments, however, led to conflicts with crew members, sometimes delaying departures.  

On the second floor of the Tokyu Hands department store in Shibuya, Tokyo, more than 80 different suitcases are on display. Cautious customers may avail themselves of special measurement gauges with which they can confirm that the items they are contemplating to purchase confirm to airline carry-on regulations.

"Over the past several years, we've increased the number of smaller bags in our product mix," says Shinsuke Kobayashi, a store employee. "They now account for about 30% of the total."

Typically for Japanese carriers, the limitations on baggage size for aircraft with 100 passenger seats and above are based on a total of 115 centimeters, with limitations of within 55, 40 and 25 centimeters for length, height and thickness. Depending on the carrier, the allowable total weight is limited to within 7 to 10 kilograms.

Ace, one of Japan's largest manufacturers of luggage, develops its products in conformance with airline regulations. The company says consumer demand for of carry-on bags has been increasing year by year, with the first six months of 2018 surpassing the year before by around 10%.

One of the reasons for this appears to be the growth in people traveling by low-cost carriers. In the summer flight schedule for 2018, for example, passengers on LCCs accounted for 27.1% of international travel to and from Japan, with most travelers taking them on brief, short-distance flights to Asia.

In addition to the LCC's charging additional for check-in baggage, Ace's spokesperson remarked that company employees who accompany their superiors on business trips are eager to avoid waiting for check-in baggage to be transferred to carousels in the arrival area.

Air safety regulations prohibit a plane's departure from the terminal until confirmation has been made that all baggage has been secured. JAL flight attendant Kazuna Sato says she has seen cases when passengers, while removing items from their bags stored in the overhead bin, fumbled the items which landed on seated passengers' heads. To encourage more people to stow their carry-ons under the seat in front of them, the company, from February 2017, has been passing out plastic bags at the boarding gates. These, supposedly, will prevent bags placed on the floor of the aircraft from becoming soiled. 

LCC Peach Aviation has in the past faced departure delays caused by excess baggage problems. Up to now, the company has permitted up two items of baggage weighing up to 10 kilograms to be carried for free, but from October the weight will be reduced to seven kilograms. Items in excess of this weight will be checked in at the boarding gate.

"We hope customers comply with the regulations, for check-in items as well," says JAL's Sato.

But Yukan Fuji says that with the ongoing efforts by carriers to cut costs and adhere to schedules, it's inevitable that they will impose additional measures.

© Japan Today

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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Airlines will squeeze every dime they can get away with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The same trips I took in the early and mid 80s now cost at minimum half to 20% of what they did then. LCCs have helped, and so FAR more people are travelling.

Since then I still can't understand why a standard calculative weight for passengers of 75 kg has been maintained while luggage weight limits are set and often imposed (by money gauging LCCs eg. 5000 yen on a Jetstar trip for 500 grams over the limit for one of my students who was about half my body weight!).

Imagine the delays and charges though if they weighed you every time you checked in along with everyone else, and the battles on the tarmac between envious passengers fat and thin. Even so, fairness ....

Charging like this is encouragement for extra carry-on luggage, which is a red rag to a bull for LCCs to charge more and cause more passenger tension and delays.

Then the security checks air-side, usually for carry on only - but usually not if you have none, but how hard is that with all the crap we have to carry around these days.

Air travel is just unpleasant now, but trains in Europe with their security checks are becoming like that too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I do that, just use a backpack that fits the standard and a typical laptop satchel. Still enough for 5-7 days worth of clothes. Might get something with optional wheels and hideaway straps so I don't have to carry all the time, but I like the extra cushioning and lumbar support

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate LCCs. Low in most everything I deem important, not just cost.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you put a bag under the seat in front you will be unable to move for the entire journey. There is zero chance of me doing that.

company employees who accompany their superiors on business trips are eager to avoid waiting for check-in baggage to be transferred to carousels in the arrival area

Quite right: those minutes spent waiting for bags are minutes that cannot be spent sitting in a pointless meeting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since Sept. 11, 2001, international air travel, especially to and from the United States, has been an unrequited nightmare.

I've never had a single issue. Maybe it's not you, but I've noticed that a lot of people who complain about air travel are folks with no patience and have unrealistic expectations of air travel. I want to get from point A to point B. I expect less than comfortable chairs, a few long lines and a bunch of people I have to talk to that are not smiling. If that's how it goes, I'm happy.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Ace's spokesperson remarked that company employees who accompany their superiors on business trips are eager to avoid waiting for check-in baggage to be transferred to carousels in the arrival area.

Lest we think this is some Japanese senpai/kohai superior type thing, I've had my [western] boss tell me the exact thing on one business trip. Some people just don't like to stand around waiting.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I avoid LCCs with their money gouging tactics...,

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Since Sept. 11, 2001, international air travel, especially to and from the United States, has been an unrequited nightmare.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Sounds like another excuse to charge the traveling public more for what used to be part of the ticket price. It's interesting how fuel prices have remained fairly steady for the past couple of years, but we keep reading that airlines have to increase costs to overcome these fuel prices.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

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