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Delta Airlines to Test Free Checked Bags

Couldn't find anything directly from Delta, but article below states they will start a test later this month on flights leaving from Boston, offering to check your carry-on bag for free. Stated reason is to "enhance customer experience", but in order to give up those bag fees it seems they want to see if they can do quicker turns to make up the lost revenue.

https://thriftytraveler.com/news/airlines/delta-boarding-process-test/

Posted by
13508 posts

Interesting, Eric, but I don't see the point? Why would someone even want to check a carry-on? For people who want to make a quick getaway from the airport, it would mean having to spend the time to go to baggage claim. It would also mean not having important items with you that might not fit in a personal item, like a purse or briefcase. Maybe I'm missing something?

Posted by
21071 posts

I suppose this might appeal to the passengers who travel carry-on-only not because they are worried about luggage delays or getting out of the airport fast, but because they object to paying the checked-luggage fee. I sort of doubt there are all that many travelers in that category, but who knows.

Posted by
8405 posts

I think some people aren't looking at the time but are looking at saving the money. Finding overhead bin space and lifting luggage into the bins blocks the aisles and delays the boarding process. So a freebie might speed up the process.

Posted by
6871 posts

i remember the time in Prague that I and my bag was flagged for additional security screening. And the authorities made me check my carry on bag that happened to have my car keys in it.

Upon my return to Atlanta, I realized ithe carry on bag didn't get placed on my flight out of Prague. And since I had no car key, I had to wait in a cheap Atlanta hotel for 2 days until the bag arrived.

So it doesn't matter if the bag gets checked for free. I always carry on my bag for a reason.

Posted by
5621 posts

Medications, too, that need to be taken in-flight. Checking any and all carry-ons means having to devise a new strategy for essential items.

Seems like “free” is seldom really free … there’s a cost for pretty much everything, on some level.

Posted by
9716 posts

David, thanks to you I ALWAYS put my keys in my personal item. When I am leaving for the airport I know they’ll go in the cube with chargers. Thank you for previously sharing your experience - it has had an impact on me!

I wonder how many this will affect. It seems like on most Delta flights before the pandemic about 90% had some kind of elite status which would give them free checked bags anyway, lol.

I do check my carry on routinely. I like to pack light so I can handle my bag on/off trains but don’t want to fool with it during a layover at whatever hub I use for an international flight. Pre-Covid that sometimes involved a 9-hr wait in SLC which is a pain without extra responsibility of dragging a bag along.

Posted by
6639 posts

What a bunch of double-speak. If they really want to "enhance my experience" they should enforce their existing carryon requirements. That would speed things up.

Posted by
18310 posts

Wait a minute, I distinctly remember, years ago, when airlines checked all bag free of charge. Then they discovered an excuse to enhance revenue by charging an excessive amount for checked luggage.

Think about it. For what airlines charge to check a bag, they could hire someone, at more than minimum wage, to hand carry each bag and put it on the plane.

In my case, I do not carry-on to avoid fees; I carry-on to make sure my luggage doesn't get lost. Originally, I didn't think about carrying-on to avoid losing my luggage, but in the 80s, on two separate trips to Europe, my luggage 1) almost got left in Boston while I flew to Brussels, and 2) almost went to Bogota, Colombia, after a short flight from Frankfurt to Paris. When I heard Rick's advice to carry-on I immediately embraced the concept. It's very difficult for an airline to lose you bag if it's always in your possession

For years I carried my bag on, and there was plenty of space in the overhead bin. Then airlines decided to hide some of the ticket price by charging for checking luggage. Then so many people tried to carry-on, often with oversized bags that didn't fit in the overhead bins front-to-back, and it became difficult to find space. If this change means more space in the bins, I'm all for it.

I sort of doubt there are all that many travelers in that category

Acraven: I think there are a lot. I noticed a big drop in the available bin space when they started charging to check a bag.

Airlines were losing money before they discovered checked bag fees. I suspect they still lose money if you don't check a bag and don't pay the extra fee.

Posted by
4470 posts

LOL! A “new process”. I’m old enough to remember differently. ; )

Delta’s AMEX card gave us free checked bags for years, but we’ve always kept our carry-on with us. But, if it will help speed up the boarding process, I hope it’s successful.

Of course, if successful, it’s going to reduce some of the funny airplane topics for comedians like Brian Regan!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f8SRk_ySw4

Posted by
3662 posts

I would love this since I prefer to check my main baggage (which is carry-on size). I think it's undesirable to carry on all bags. I used to carry on domestically in case of mechanical breakdown so I could hop airlines, but don't think it is worth the bother anymore. Normally I haul my bag to the gate and then get it checked there for free.

One of the reasons I like to fly Southwest is that with free bags nearly everyone checks a bag and so the boarding goes much faster. People just get on the plane and sit down, and I do not have to spend 180 seconds standing in the aisle watching the person in front of me place their carry on items in 3 different overhead bins, and then watch them rearrange it all once, (and then rearrange it all yet again!) before getting out of the way and sitting down.

Posted by
5262 posts

Welcome news. I usually check my main bag, even though it's carry-on size, for the convenience of not handling it and so I don't have to worry about liquids and nail scissors and such. I'd welcome the cost savings, the overhead space, and the easier boarding process. And don't forget how long it can take to get off the plane while the people in front of you are wrestling with their bags!

Posted by
18310 posts

I don't see much difference in the time it takes to get a personal item out of the bin vs the time it takes me to get my 12# carry-on out of the bin (in fact, my carry-on fits in the personal item sizer for AA). I think the real difference would be for people with obviously over-sized "carry-ons" or even regulation sized, but very heavy carry-ons.

I wonder if this is going to dissuade people from bringing onboard overly large, non-regulation carry-on bags. It doesn't sound like they are going to waive all fees, just for bags that are within regulation size. They will probably have a regulation sizer at the check counter. If someone brings to the counter a bag that is too big and tries to check it free, and they are told they must pay the fee to check it, will the person pay the fee to check it? Will the airline give it back to them to carry on? So what we will get is that people who knowingly have over-sized carry-on bags, which are really the problem, won't try to check them. They will take them to the gate and onto the plane.

Posted by
3662 posts

I don’t agree that oversized baggage is a big delay.

The big delay is all the ordinary carry-on sized bags, getting them up or down and the handles extended or retracted. Again flying Southwest it’s quick on and off with few bags going into overhead bins.

I’m always astonished that it is absolutely impossible upon deplaning to just stay in your seat for a bit. People will block the aisle until every last person has deplaned forward of them like they are being considerate (?). Sometimes I just want to sit and get exhausted explaining over and over “please don’t block the aisle waiting for me to deplane, I need to sit.”

Posted by
5865 posts

Through my credit card, I already have up to 3 free bags with them. I check carry-on bags on and off. Mainly when I need/want to carry liquids, and when I was traveling for work, if I was carrying something that would not make it through security (tools, parts, etc.). I also commonly check a bag on the way home, much nicer traveling without a bag, and traveling in and out of a regional airport, usually means waiting for a valet checked bag anyway when flying RJ's.

So, if that means those who have no privileges check their bags 1/3 to 1/2 of the time, then great. In my experience, it is the "infrequent" traveler that clogs up boarding, brings on oversize bags or multiple bags, slows security, etc.

Posted by
798 posts

Jean, that YouTube cracked me up. Thanks for sharing

Posted by
2017 posts

So every time I fly Delta at the gate they volunteer to check carry-ons for free. What are they testing? What they you doing now? OK Delta maybe you think your agents are charging at the gate but trust me they’re not