NEWS

Checked baggage fees here to stay, says BCIT program director

03/11/2015 01:01 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT
Airline charges for checked baggage are likely here to stay, so customers will just have to get used to them, says the director of BCIT's tourism marketing program.

Air Canada has come under fire for delayed flights and lost valuables due to — according to customers — too many carry-on bags and not enough room to store them. Edmonton man Vishal Shah told the CBC's Go Public that he recently lost $2,000 worth of valuables during an Air Canada flight. The staff told him to check his carry-on bag at the last minute and then lost track of it, Shah said.

The union representing Air Canada staff also told Go Public that excessive carry-on baggage is causing flight delays as people avoiding checked in baggage fees try to cram as many bags into the cabins as possible, and then staff scramble to check in the bags that get left over.

BCIT's Dave Tikkanen said he understands customers' frustrations, as similar scenarios happened when U.S. airlines started charging fees for checked luggage.

"There were big delays where people were struggling to bring everything on board," Tikkanen told B.C. Almanac's Gloria Macarenko.

"And then eventually consumers just accept they have to pay for baggage, and they start checking bags again and the overhead bins seem to free up again."

Tikkanen said there are things both airlines and customers can do to smooth over the transition process.

Allow those without carry-on luggage to board first

"That would speed up the process, because as soon as people stop in the aisles to try and start putting things in the overhead bins, it backs everybody up," Tikkanen said.

Reduce the permitted size of carry-on luggage

"It could easily come to airlines bringing in new size restrictions, where they're going to bring in smaller size restrictions so we can get more bags in the cabin," Tikkanen said.

Pack lighter

"A lot of times when people are travelling, I think they're bringing too much luggage to begin with," he said. "A lot of times you can get away with just a carry-on."

To hear the full interview with Dave Tikkanen, click on the audio labelled: Checked baggage fees not going away anytime soon: BCIT program director

MORE:cbcNews