Friday, May 23, 2008

Package Shipping

Not only is checked luggage a time-consuming hassle, but now it’s getting more and more expensive. American Airlines just instituted a $15 charge to check even one bag. Most airlines have adopted a $25 charge for a second bag. Our suggestion is to ship it. If you absolutely need more than your carry-on bag, consider UPS, FedEx, or the Post Office. Several articles and blogs have claimed it’s too expensive – $200 for next-day shipping – but why should you need it next day? Send it ahead to your hotel or friends a week in advance. For a 50-pound package from coast to coast (and if you can’t get everything you need in a 50-pound box, you might just as well stay home), UPS charges $59 (8 days), Post Office $44 (7 days), FedEx Ground $51 (5 days). We’ve strongly suggested that you travel light, and the new airline fees makes us even more inclined to do so. The airlines are tacking on fees (baggage fees, change fees, phone-booking fees, in-flight food fees) in desperate hopes of raising revenue by nickels and dimes, and annoying travellers in the process. Pack a sturdy cardboard box with clothes and essentials, and ship it ahead. Buy your shampoo and toothpaste on arrival. Beat the airlines at their silly games.