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As Ryanair and Virgin introduce new luggage policies, buyers must ensure these are communicated to travellers, as small changes can have a big impact on a trip, says Denise Harman, senior director of programme management, UK & Ireland, CWT
This week Ryanair rolled out its new baggage policy that only guarantees cabin bags for priority passengers, and Virgin confirmed it will no longer allow ‘smart baggage’ anywhere on its aircraft, if batteries can’t be removed.
We’re only at the start of 2018, but already it’s obvious that travel managers will have to be faster than ever to adapt and communicate changes to airline policy than ever before. In 2017, travellers had to react to a cabin ban on laptops to and from certain destinations, and ensure their devices are charged enough to turn on and be tested.
Having a travel policy that can flex when suppliers change the rules is really important. For some companies, it could be more cost efficient to upgrade their policy to include priority boarding than to have people wait 20 minutes at baggage collection. With larger volumes of travellers a week, they could work with their TMC and suppliers to negotiate a better deal.
At the root of all this is obviously safety and efficiency – efficiency at turning round a plane for Ryanair, as lateness both hits their bottom line and annoys customers, and for Virgin, the safety of passengers with battery stability. But also communication here is key – it’s so important for travel managers to be able to relay these changes quickly to avoid any unexpected delays, cost – or at worst – missed flights.
As a weekly business traveller, I want to get off the aircraft and head straight through passport control not worrying about the baggage collection as I’ve got my wheelie with me. For my hops from Dublin to London, it makes sense to me. So, it’s a double-edged sword for frequent flyers – as more people travel with large cabin baggage to avoid the charges on checking in bags, it takes longer to load the plane and get on the runway, and that causes us and the airline a delay, which I also don’t want.
Time is money. And money is bags!