When Flying Anywhere, Keep it Light or It’ll Cost Ya!

One of the perks of corporate or association meetings to some interesting destination is that
attendees “get to get away” from it all, both home and office. Such events are uplifting and
rewarding, and attendees look forward to expanding their horizons, as well as attending a variety
of scheduled events from an opening reception to the final night event, often a fancy affair with
plenty of food, entertainment, and a wrap-up of the week’s highlights. Each scheduled event
within the meeting often suggests a certain attire from business wear to shorts and polo shirts,
and maybe formal or semi-formal dress as well.

        Hey, that’s a lot to pack but it’s not a bad idea to dress up a bit or have a different
“outfit” for each scheduled event – it makes folks feel good about themselves and can make
the event even more special and rewarding. But there is one drawback here and that is the extra
baggage involved. Kind of strange to say, but, meeting and event planners should think about
that when planning events so that attendees can get the “extra mileage” out of their suitcase
wardrobes.
        According to one of my favorite online news services, Morning Brew, whom I’ll refer
to as MB and whom I have often quoted:

If you’re a cost-conscious flyer (or planner) who’s had to stuff a small cross-body into a
full backpack thanks to an eagle-eyed gate agent, get used to it because airlines are making
it trickier to travel economically with lots of stuff.

For instance, according to MB, Delta Airlines recently announced that it is hiking its checked–
bag fees for the first time in six years, joining other major airlines in charging flyers (your
attendees) more for luggage, while also cracking down on the smaller, carry-on items that
boarding agents used to turn a blind eye to. What’s happening? Is everyone randomly getting “on
board” with mindlessly charging more for anything and everything just because it’s
expected these days?  Well, the airlines defend themselves by saying business is bad. Operating
costs are up while revenues are down. Ah, a familiar lament.
       But, getting back to Delta, it is now charging $35 for the first bag checked, and $45
thereafter. Others are joining in, with variations of course. Southwest, however, “is the only
major airline that still provides flyers with two free checked bags (for how long is what I want to
know), but it’s cracking down on those extra carry-on items,” declares MB. Ah, there’s the rub.
According to what’s going on at the check-in point, media sources say the airlines really seem
concerned about those carry-ons, including purses and fanny packs – especially any
personal pillows and blankets for the long flight ahead.

So, the whole point is that planners should beware when choosing an airline. It’s not
just about flight fares, it’s about hidden or overlooked fees. Consider all those extra costs
that are cropping up throughout the airline industry as they might land on attendee expense
accounts. And, while we’re at it, wouldn’t it be a good idea to educate attendees on how and
what to pack for an upcoming corporate conference or association pow-wow as well. Maybe
even plan your events around it……well, that’s for another day, another blog.

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