It’s incredible to think about how the title of a post or article really sets the tone for a story. For example, if you saw the recent Dow Jones article entitled “Ryanair To Ban Check-In Baggage And Airport Check-In,” you might be surprised to know that it’s referencing the exact same piece of news that I’m discussing here today. The only difference? I see some good in this idea while Dow Jones is clearly going for the sensational, eye-catching headline.
Now before we get into this, I should start by saying that I doubt it’ll actually happen. Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary loves to spout off about his dreams about the future of Ryanair, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. We’re still waiting to see those pay lavs, right? But I think O’Leary’s head is in the right place here.
Yes, it’s true that O’Leary wants to ban checked baggage. Sounds like a bad plan if you like to bring a lot of stuff, but this wouldn’t really prevent you from doing that. Because while he wants to ditch checked baggage, he’d be happy to let you carry on as much as you can drag to the plane. Are you envisioning overhead bins and aisle packed to the gills with bags? Well if they run out of room, they’ll just start putting the bags in the belly, like they do today on regional jets that can’t handle those rollerboards.
If you think about this from a cost savings perspective, it makes sense. You really don’t need ticket counters or any place to for customers to interact with you outside security in this scheme. You also don’t need the complicated luggage transport systems and baggage carts that currently fill the underbelly of every airport. You then need fewer people working on the ramp as well, because you’re making the passengers do the work instead.
For passengers, they’ll have to drag their own luggage all the way to the plane, and I’m pretty sure this will make security lines even more miserable, but if you’re paying a penny for a flight, then you’ll probably just deal with it. And just imagine – no more checked bag fees! Not happy about schlepping all those bags through the airport? I’m sure Ryanair will offer you a pushcart . . . for a fee.
Despite all the decent possibilities of a system like this, I still don’t think it will happen. Why? The government. Any time a plan touches the security process, the government gets involved, and I’m sure they won’t like this idea at all. Oh, and all those carry-on restrictions mean that a lot of passengers who travel with things like guns and knives, not to mention liquids in large containers, will have to fly someone else.
Then there’s the issue of weight and balance in the belly. With carry-on bags, you won’t know how much luggage you’ll have and how it should be spaced out in the aircraft until people board. That will likely delay aircraft turn times, and it will make for a mess of a situation right before departure.
So I don’t think we’ll see this plan come to fruition, but there certainly are some merits to it. At the very least, it’s a creative way to reduce costs, and this industry can certainly use more creativity.