Earlier this week, I forked over $15 to Delta Airlines for the privilege of checking a bag. Frequent travelers on Delta are evidently well aware of this new charge: there was clearly an even greater number of passengers going the carry-on route, and a higher percentage of carry-ons stuffed so full, it was impossible to cram them into the overhead bin.
After about two-thirds of the passengers had boarded, there was no longer any room in the overhead bins. Let the gate-checking begin. (Did those passengers pay the $15, I wonder?)
Although the overhead bins were closed, the tail-end of the passenger line felt compelled to open every bin all the way down the length of the plane, then turn around and try to jostle their way back upstream to gate-check the bag.
Some passengers, finding that their overstuffed bags could NOT be crammed into the overhead bins, began unpacking their luggage in the aisle, to remove items and shove stuff under the seat, while the line behind them came to a screeching halt.
It was chaos.
Is this the law of unintended consequences? Is it possible that Delta did not foresee that by charging to check a bag, they'd force passengers to try to carry it all on? Did they think they'd encourage passengers to travel with fewer clothes? If not, and if the gross weight of the baggage remains the same, whether it is checked or carried on, what's the economic advantage to Delta? And if it's simply a new revenue stream, why not "up" the ticket by $15 in the first place?
This one, I don't get. But I do know this: no good can ever come of creating a bigger hassle for your customers. Competitors, take note.