I attended the ACTE Conference in New York City two weeks ago and had the pleasure of sitting in on a session on airline ancillary services and related fees. The topic was one of the hottest at the entire event. During this particular presentation the conversation quickly turned to checked bags (as they often do) and the related fees and rules. I soon realized the amount of misinformation, or the sheer lack of information, that exists on the subject within the corporate travel management community. The speaker made a seemingly “factual” statement that “airlines can only price checked bags for their online service and consumers must pay again for any interline service.” While this may have been true, it no longer is thanks to a recent IATA (International Air Transport Association) resolution and a new product offering from the Airline Tariff Publishing Company, better known as ATPCO.
Now I realize that it is entirely possible that the majority of corporate travel executives don’t keep current on the workings of ATPCO, and you may have missed a recent announcement by ATPCO about their new pricing engine for checked bags. As we all know, checked bag fees continue to capture the attention of consumers, consumer groups and even the US government. And judging by the fact that this event was standing room only for latecomers, it is clear that folks here were desperately looking for factual information. But did you ever think about how the fees for checked bags are calculated and administered when a traveler checks in for his or her flight? Until recently there was little uniformity in the process. However, on April 1st of this year (no fooling) the new IATA Automated Carrier Baggage Rules (IATA Resolution 302) went into effect. Read the rest of this entry »