Wizz Air to charge for carry-ons. What's next?

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Wizz Air has announced that it will charge €10 for carry-on baggage on all of its flights from October 24. The airline made the decision after a trial on the Katevice-Luton route proved “successful”. Wizz Air of course also charges for bags that have been checked in and CEO Joszef Varadi openly said at the World Low Cost Airline conference earlier this month: “We will charge for everything.”

The low cost carrier is not the first airline to introduce carry-on fees, Spirit Airlines in the U.S. has had the same idea earlier. The question is: will it work in Europe?

Well, hopefully not. Charging for carry-ons is the worst form of a broader strategy of some low cost airlines having customers pay for things they can’t avoid. The payment charges (well, you have to pay somehow) or the check-in fees (you have to check in) have been longer established as a nuisance of a similar kind.

And now the bags. Airlines have tried to educate people not to check too many bags by charging extra. They have a point in this case, because their costs actually go up the more bags are checked – they have to pay more baggage handlers or the airport that takes care of the bags. Understood. That has obviously led to more people taking more carry-ons on board, which is a lower cost way of taking stuff along. It is lower cost than checking the bags, but it is not lower cost than not taking any luggage at all. So what’s next? Charge for coats? Shoes?

Let’s just hope that airlines don’t forget that there is an even lower cost option for passengers: not travelling.

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