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