Baggage fees have mixed results

The New York Times reports that new fees on checked bags combined with the recession, which has reduced flying generally, led to a 24% decrease in the number of damaged and lost bags worldwide, saving the US airline industry $94 million and baggage handlers from injury.
Now for the bad news: the fees also have the side effect of encouraging passengers to overload and oversize the bags they do carry on. According to an Association of Flight Attendants survey, 35% of flight attendants reported being hit by falling bags, and 80% said they had muscle pulls and strains. In addition, the fees have not improved turn around time at the gate, as had been predicted. In fact, flights are sometimes delayed as passengers and flight attendants struggle to accommodate bags that are too big for the space.
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