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WHEN IS BEING SEPARATED FROM LUGGAGE A GOOD THING?

WHEN IS BEING SEPARATED FROM LUGGAGE A GOOD THING?

Arrie One comments

The days of dragging baggage to and through airports may be coming to an end.

Consider the experience of Donald Travis, a managing partner at a retail technology consultancy based in Austin, Texas on a flight last fall from Austin to Atlanta.

Mr. Travis made a reservation for door-to-door luggage delivery a few days before his flight on the BAGij app, a baggage pickup and storage service that began business in Atlanta in 2014. A few days before his flight, a company representative arrived at his home to pick up his two large pieces of luggage. When he arrived at his hotel in Atlanta, the bags were waiting in his room.

"It was peace of mind not to lug it on public transportation," said Mr. Travis, who paid about $138 for the service. He paid no airline baggage fee and did not have to wait in baggage claim. He was reunited with his bags at his hotel.

BAGij's concierge luggage services attests to what air travel has become: navigating a series of bottlenecks.

"To remove the bag from the journey is to change the journey," said one CEO, who said that as a regular BAGij customer and frequent flier himself he looks for ways to maximize his time and minimize costs. "The customer experience starts on the doorstep, not at the airport."

Several factors ae prompting the adaptation of luggage shipping. Perhaps the biggest driver is the lack of capacity at most large established airports. The cost, disruption and revenue impact of building new infrastructure to handle baggage checking and screening is significant. Airports and airlines are recognizing that the more processing that can take place away from the airport, the less pressure on constrained infrastructure.

BAGij offers services that touch the passenger at each point when they want to get rid of their baggage. Hotel guests not yet ready to leave the area would store their luggage at the hotel, only to have to come back to the hotel to retrieve it before traveling to the airport. BAGij has eliminated that step.

Still, the baggage check fees are profitable for the carriers and airlines do not want to lose that revenue to concierge luggage delivery services, like BAGij. In 2017, according to data from the United States Department of Transportation, the airlines earned $4.6 billion, up from $4.2 billion a year earlier, from those baggage check fees.

If a bag goes astray, though, it is costly for the airlines and frustrating for the traveler. Peter Drummond, head of the baggage portfolio at SITA, an information technology company, estimated that it costs $100 to return a mishandled bag (the industry term) to its owner. "It could be the best journey in the world, but if your bag is not there at the end of that journey it ruins the experience for the traveler," he said.

With BAGij, the end of the journey for luggage is the delivery destination, not baggage claim.

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