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Less is more. No baggage in the hold

Picture of Vicente Padilla

Vicente Padilla

AERTEC / CEO & Founder


Checked baggage service will no longer be offered on flights. Preposterous? Ask Ryanair’s boss.

Just imagine all the savings to be made: check-in desks, conveyor belts, complex baggage handling systems, ULDs, baggage carousels, baggage trailers, tow tractors… the list seems endless. Think of it, none of these exist at any train station. There are additional savings. Existing buildings and hard-paved parking areas could be used for something else. Finally, enormous labor costs – maintenance and operation staff – could be wiped out at once. Some of these savings would definitely be passed onto you.

Dragging big chunks of our stuff across the world back and forth does not sound too smart.

I have no doubts that existing LCC vicious competition will push the market towards this direction: carry-on baggage only when making air travel plans.

Of course many changes would have to happen. Aircraft would have to be redesigned to accommodate larger overhead bins or introduce independent baggage compartments – as with trains – especially for long-haul travel.

Passengers would have to be reeducated as well. Some airlines are already doing it. They are charging passengers dearly for their checked-in luggage. O’Leary says he has “re-educated passengers on the way they travel”. Today less than 20% of Ryanair passengers check in their luggage, down from 80% years ago.

If airlines ban checked-in bags, passengers would have to make do with less. Impossible?

Many are already realizing that it is not only possible, it is also illuminating. Less is more. Today many people no longer go to an airport hours in advance. They just pop in, boarding-pass in hand; cross the security check and off they go. Of course, no wasted time by the carousel at the arrivals lounge either. At their final destination, light-travelling passengers are figuring things out. People are renting skis or golf clubs upon arrival, and if running out of clean clothes, a few quarters may do the trick at the nearest Laundromat.

Dragging big chunks of our stuff across the world back and forth does not sound too smart – It does not sound too eco-friendly either. We may like him or loathe him, but Mr. O’Leary’s revolutionary thinking not only saves us money and time, he may – along the way – save our souls too.



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