You had a long flight. You are tired. All you want to do is head home or to your hotel but instead you have to wait and wait at the carousel for the luggage to start coming out. It never fails, your bag will always be the last one on the belt. Many travelers jam everything they can into carry-on bags so they can avoid checking luggage. What if the airline simplified things for you and simply delivered your bags to your home, hotel or even office? Is it worth paying extra to be able to skip baggage claim?
American Airlines is now offering this service. They are charging $29.95 for one bag, $39.95 for two bags or $49.95 for three to ten bags. For a family traveling with multiple bags this can be quite a deal. Delivery range is 40 miles from the airport. For longer distances it costs an extra dollar per mile which adds up fast. The maximum delivery distance is 100 miles. American promises delivery times of one to four hours.
This is perfect for business travelers who may have morning meetings in their home city then fly elsewhere for afternoon meetings. They have to get off the plane and to the meeting as quick as they can but still need their luggage since they will be in town for several days. Or the dad who flies home with barely enough time to catch his daughter's dance recital. Rather than wait for his luggage, for a small fee he can make it to the recital on time and have the bags waiting for him when he gets home!
Obviously this is not for everyone. Many travelers have balked at the extra fees airlines now charge for extras. It used to be a meal was free, now it will cost you. You want emergency exit row? Rather than being able to request this at check-in, now you have to pay an extra fee to be able to stretch your legs. Some airlines charge for early boarding or quick exiting from the plane. The fees seem to go on and on.
With rising fuel costs, security costs, etc. airlines are constantly battling to keep ticket prices low enough so people will fly. By charging for extras that not everyone wants or needs they can bring in additional revenue. It is frustrating when something that was free now costs money but new services like this may appeal to some people. American Airlines made over $2.1 billion last year in extra fees and the luggage delivery service will undoubtably bring in more.
Third party companies have offered luggage delivery for some time. American is eliminating the middle man and making it easier on the consumer. You can now order this service and pay for it at the same time you buy your ticket.
American will be offering baggage delivery at over 200 U.S. airports and some select cities overseas. Other airlines are watching and if it is successful they will most likely offer their own programs soon.