Airline Baggage Charges
As part of their move to become the 'Bucket Carrier' of repute in this part of the world the national carrier, Air New Zealand, has introduced excess baggage charges on both Domestic Flights and their new trans Tasman 'Express Class' flights. The Baggage limit is 20kg and the excess charges are $5 domestic and $20 trans Tasman. The discount subsidiary carrier of Air NZ has been charging $5 trans Tasman for some time. Now this may not seem too unreasonable, but, when you travel on holiday like I do with a whole schwag of kitesurfing and scuba diving gear then it is a royal pain in the ass. I thought I'd get out my calculator and do some sums to work out just how nasty these charges really are.
Let's start with a few basic figures.
When loading an aircraft the airline makes some calculations based on the average passenger weight. In New Zealand this is governed by Parts 121, 125 and 135 of the Civil Aviation Rules. While the rules currently state that the prescribed weight is 77kg, a recent survey by the CAA found that the average weight was in fact closer to 85kg. Passenger weighting is currently under review so we'll be generous and use the 77kg figure.
Given our average weight of 77kg and excess baggage charges of $5 and $20 respectively we can calculate the cost of a maximum luggage carrying passenger as follows.
(Avg Passenger Weight) + (Carry On Allowance of 7kg) + (Checked Allowance of 20kg)
Multiply this by the excess baggage charges and we get
$ 520 for Domestic
$ 2080 for Trans Tasman
If the excess baggage charges are levied on a cost recovery basis then air travel both domestically and trans Tasman for passengers is extremely cheap.
Let's compare our situation trans Tasman with some other fares. For around $2000 I should be able to get to Seattle and back for the MVP Summit in April. Whats more, my baggage allowance will be a whopping 64kg! It would cost me $1760 (44kg excess * $20/kg * each way) to have that sort of baggage allowance to Sydney, Australia, a distance of about 1/4 of what it will take me to get to Seattle. Someone is getting ROYALLY screwed here.
Let's try some calculations from a different angle. On Freedom Air you don't get any in flight service. You can however buy a can of Coke for $1- a bargain even on the ground these days. A standard can of Coke is 355ml- assuming that Coke is the same density as water then we get 355gm of Coke plus say 10 grams worth of aluminum. Now if it costs $5 a kg to carry something on a Freedom flight then each can of coke is costing the airline $1.80 (.36kg * $5) to carry on the plane. Even if they sold every one of the cans they they placed on each flight they'd still be losing money hand over fist. And that's Freedom @ $5/kg for excess. It 'costs' Air New Zealand a whopping $7.20 to carry a can of Coke across the Tasman Sea!
Letter to Ralph Norris:
Next time I travel Trans Tasman can I buy Coke off the aircraft for $1 a can and replace it with baggage of equivalent weight?
Were I to be able to do this my excess baggage charges would be a much more reasonable $2.80 (2.8 cans of coke per kilo * $1 per can) per kilo and I'd have a few cans of coke to go with my duty free Bourbon on returning to New Zealand. Raplh would still be making a margin on his cans of coke and wouldn't be potentially losing $6.20 carting them back and forth across the oceans.
Rants|Sunday, February 08, 2004 1:58:39 AM UTC||Tracked by:
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