Why charging extra for all checked bags–or for carry-ons–is a bad idea

In the past week and a half, after Grant posted about the charge for checked bags, I’ve listened to commentators and have had conversations about the checked bag fee. The general feeling that I’ve heard–and also mine, is, if airfares need to go up in order to compensate for fuel costs, so be it., but charging for one checked bag makes people more disgusted with airlines. Nickel and diming people isn’t a well thought out plan for customer satisfaction.

Lately, I’ve noticed that the price of most grocery store items have gone up. Following the airline model of business would mean stores would charge extra for the person to pack your grocery bag. That’s what discount grocery stores do-but not stores that want to attract customers for the shopping experience. The extra cost for bagging groceries and for the cost of getting items to the store and on the shelves is in the cost of the food.

Recently, when I went to dinner at a restaurant, there was a sign posted to let customers know that the prices had gone up $1 per main course. The increase had started on April 30. Customers knew of the change before they sat down. That seems reasonable.

Knowing what something will cost beforehand, once and for all, provides better mental health, in my opinion. When I’m searching for airplane ticket prices, I’m drawn to the sites that list the total cost up front with the taxes added in right off. If the first price says $250 and then I find out that the added fees bring the cost considerably higher, I go from thinking I landed a deal to feeling like I’ve been taken for a ride before I’ve actually had one.