Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UPS "luggage box" could help reduce airport hassles

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

U.S. airlines have generated nearly $800 million in revenue from baggage fees - a 33% increase - according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. And that was during just the first quarter of this year.

But UPS reminded frustrated air travelers on Tuesday that there are alternatives to the conventional checked baggage system.

The Sandy Springs-based company has introduced three luggage shipping alternatives, including a new "luggage box" to use in lieu of a suitcase, in an effort to reduce airport hassles for travelers. You'll still have to pay (UPS says the box is "competitively priced with the airlines' baggage fees"), but shipping your bags in advance of flying could help you avert long lines and security searches... not to mention the workout you get from hauling your luggage to and around the airport.

"Not having to carry a suitcase while traveling is a great convenience. Even better is luggage awaiting your arrival at a destination or hotel," said John Minetola, The UPS Store franchisee from Wyoming, Pa. "You can ship your luggage as is; place it in a box for shipment, or at select locations purchase a luggage box, eliminating the need for a suitcase altogether."

Shipping baggage for airline passengers is not a new venture for the company, though - it's been a small part of their business for a while. But more and more customers have begun to turn to this option since airlines started charging for checked bags and carry-ons, so UPS is directly promoting it as a service for the first time.

UPS's small box sells for $12.95 and the large one for $17.65 (not including shipping), and boxes can be reused. Customers can check out shipping prices at http://www.theupsstore.com/qcc/pages/qcc.aspx. Travelers can track their shipments with UPS mobile apps for cell phones, PDAs, or other web-enabled wireless devices or receive e-mail shipment notification.

I'm sold. It may end up costing me just as much, but the convenience definitely makes up for that.

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