Now, ship your excess air baggage; have it dropped at your doorstep

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on September 26, 2019 Published on September 26, 2019

Gati-KWE rolls out service at a fraction of fee for excess baggage

Among air travellers’ biggest fears are excess baggage and the steep penalty that comes with it.

That the airlines are strict in enforcing their free baggage allowance adds to the stress. It is a common sight at check-in counters to see passengers pleading with staff to overlook their excess baggage. Airlines — including Indigo, Spicejet and Vistara — typically charge ₹400 for every extra kilogram of baggage that flyers are loath to pay.

Help is at hand. Gati-KWE, a domestic cargo distribution company, has come up with a service wherein it will ship the excess baggage to your doorstep at a rate that is up to 85 per cent lesser than what you pay an airline — ₹130 per kg (if you want the excess baggage sent by air) or ₹25 per kg (by road). According to the Gati-KWE website, it has set up kiosks at the Chennai and Mumbai airports. Company officials could not be reached for comments.

Airport revenue

“This is a very good initiative and we understand they charge only ₹25 per kg as against ₹400 by airlines. Airport operators are keen to introduce the facility as they get additional revenue either in the form of (kiosk) rent or revenue share,” said Sudhakar Reddy, President, Air Passengers Association of India.

B Govindarajan, Chief Operating Officer, Tirwin Management Services, a Chennai-based aviation consultancy firm, said the initiative makes sense considering that air passengers today are often first-time flyers and therefore not ‘baggage savvy’. They tend to carry things whose commercial value may be a fraction of the excess baggage fee they would command.

And there are piquant situations, where the air fare turns out to be lower than the excess baggage fee demanded at the airport counter, making passengers wonder if they ought to have bought an additional ticket just to avail the free baggage allowance of another 15 kg. (The airlines do not permit this.)

“Today’s airlines leave no stone unturned to push ancillary revenue by charging for excess baggage,” Govindarajan remarked.

Easier times

J Krishnan of freight forwarding company Natesa Iyer & Co recalled that 30 years ago, carrying excess baggage was not unusual. It would be accepted as cargo (for a nominal fee) and carried in the same Air India or Indian Airlines flight. However, this service was subsequently discontinued.

According to Chennai airport officials, the initial response to the Gati-KWE initiative has been good, and it is likely to be quickly adopted across all airports.

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Published on September 26, 2019
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