easyJet is now offering passengers the chance to check-in their hand baggage. For a fee of course.
Called ‘Hands Free’, the new scheme allows passengers to check in their hand baggage at the Bag Drop desk, where they will be tagged as priority and treated as normal checked baggage.
‘Hands Free’ hand baggage will then be among the first to be delivered at the baggage belt at arrivals. Whatever that means.
The price is £4 per person, or £10 for a group bundle per flight.
Passengers with Hands Free will be given small plastic bags to carry their essential items, and are free to take on board any items they buy at the airport. Passengers are also able to board first after those with Speedy Boarding.
easyJet successfully trialled ‘Hands Free’ in France this Spring and so have rolled it out across its entire network with the exception of London Gatwick.
easyJet presents the new option as a way to give passengers a stress-free experience, as they do not need to take baggage through security or carry it around the airport.
While some of that is true, the real reason for the option is to make more money for easyJet. Because of high baggage fees, many passengers prefer to travel with hand baggage only. Quite often this means there is not enough space onboard for all the hand baggage. Airlines then take the bag from some passengers and put it in the hold.
What easyJet are now doing is making money out of the situation created by their own high baggage fees. In airline language it’s another form of ancillary revenue.
easyJet are in the top 10 airlines worldwide for making money out of ancillary revenue. They make over USD 1 billion a year for it.
The Luton-based carrier expects pre-tax profits for its current financial year ending in September 2017 to be between £380m and £420m. It is below the £495m figure in 2016 and well below the 2015 figure of £686m.
One downside for easyJet is they will probably use up more fuel as they will now be carrying lots more shopping that passengers will buy at the airport. The airports will be happy though.
Andrew Middleton, Ancillary Revenue Director at easyJet:
“We’ve seen a fantastic response from customers upgrading to the ‘Hands Free’ experience and we’re confident once you go ‘Hands Free’ you’ll never want to drag cabin baggage through the airport again.
Alongside low fares and friendly customer service, our customers tell us that the airport experience is a hugely important part of their flying experience.”
N.B. Image credit: easyJet