The so-called “Ryanair jacket” could soon make an appearance in Australia as Jetstar moves to ensure customers stay within their free carry-on baggage allowance.
Jetstar says an upcoming six-month trial of “cabin baggage officers” at a number of major Australian ports is about ensuring passengers are within the maximum allowable size and weight limits for carry-on luggage. They will also “assist” customers who need to have their bags checked in if they are too big or too heavy.
That move to “assist” passengers may give the airline a boost to its already healthy ancillary revenues, as passengers with excess carry-on pay to check in bags at the gate or decide to pre-purchase check-in luggage during the booking process to be on the safe side.
Jetstar is already one of the best airlines in terms of generating ancillary revenues, according to an IdeaWorks Company report published in July 2014. The report said Jetstar had 20.6 per cent of its total revenue come from ancillary revenue in 2013, the seventh highest among the 59 carriers surveyed.
The 2013 Qantas annual report said Jetstar grew its ancillary revenue per passenger grew five per cent in 2012/13, without giving a dollar figure, while a 2012 report from Amadeus found Jetstar earned 18.8 euros ancillary revenue per passenger in 2011, or $A26.5 based on current exchange rates. It ranked eighth among airlines surveyed.
Jetstar says the new cabin baggage officers will help ground crew at the boarding gate and allow flights to depart on time.
“To make the air fair for all of our customers, we want to make sure that everyone is compliant with our carry-on baggage allowance,” a Jetstar spokesman said in an emailed statement to Australian Aviation on Tuesday.
“Our customers generally comply with our carry-on baggage limits and we hope that the introduction of these additional ground staff will help educate our customers about our limits to ensure everyone is able to board safely, speedily and with adequate locker space.”
Jetstar allows passengers to take 10kg of carry-on luggage on Australian domestic flights, consisting of one main item and one other small item.
“Any piece of baggage that doesn’t fit with the requirements above will need to be checked-in and charges may apply,” the Jetstar website says.
Ancillary revenue is big business for airlines around the world, generating $US31.5 billion for airlines in 2013, compared with $US2.45 billion in 2007. That represented an increase of about 1,200 per cent.
In Europe, savvy travellers have invented special jackets, some with up to 17 pockets, in order to fight back against strict limits and hefty charges for carry-on bags by airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet.
In one such case, a passenger managed to fit a laptop, four t-shirts, two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, sunglasses, a mobile phone, camera, torch, books, notepad and first-aid kit, along with a plastic mug, spoon and tin-opener and a packet of freeze-dried Lancashire hotpot in a 17-pocket jacket. And for washing up, some gloves and a rubber plug.
The cabin baggage officers will be at Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Gold Coast airports, the airline said.