Have your checked bag delivered to your door

Posted: July 11, 2013

If you are flying US Airways, American or United airlines and want to skip the wait at the luggage carousel, you now have the option to have your bags delivered to your home, hotel, or office - for a fee.

US Airways, Philadelphia's dominant airline, became the latest U.S. carrier Wednesday to offer to-your-door baggage delivery from about 200 U.S. airports and a few international destinations.

The luggage delivery is provided by the Orlando, Fla.-based company Bags VIP, which gets a cut of the fees.

The service is billed as a customer amenity, but it's also another way for airlines to make money.

The cost is $29.95 for one bag, $39.95 for two, and $49.95 for three to 10 bags. The charge is in addition to the airline's checked-bag fees.

So who would want the service?

"It could be somebody in a hurry, or whose flight was delayed and they are already late to get to the office, a meeting, or somewhere," said George Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com, a fare-tracking website.

American Airlines began offering the bag delivery last August. United launched it in January.

"We started with about 10 domestic airports," said United spokesman Charles Hobart. "We saw high demand."

US Airways currently uses Bags VIP to deliver misconnected bags - free of charge - that do not make the passenger's flight. Missed luggage will still be delivered for free and at the airline's expense.

Passengers arriving at Philadelphia International Airport's Terminal B-C baggage claim Wednesday were divided on whether they would use the service.

"I don't think so. You already pay for checking the bags. It's an additional fee," said Natalie Koller, traveling with her husband, Mark, and three young daughters from Austin, Tx., for a week with family in Ocean City, N.J.

Mark Koller said if his father, Irwin Koller, of Havertown, were not able to be at the airport to pick them up, he might like the service because the family had three suitcases and two strollers. "So that would be a good expense. It would make it easier on me."

Medha Pai, of Valley Forge, said if she were on vacation and staying in a hotel, she would like her bag delivered.

Her husband, Sri Burra, would prefer to take his bags with him. "I might have a meeting; I might want to do something else. It makes it a little less flexible to wait for the bags," he said.

Here's how the bag delivery works:

Book your trip on the airline website. If you are traveling US Airways, click on "travel tools" and "baggage" and from there link to maketraveleasier.com/usairways to schedule and pay for Bags VIP.

The luggage delivery can be scheduled up to one hour before departure. Bags are checked as usual at the airport. Bags VIP collects them at the arrival city and makes deliveries within four hours in a 40-mile radius. Longer distances up to 100 miles cost more and can take six hours.

"Once we recover the bag from the airport, we start sending you e-mails that your bag has been recovered, your driver has it on its way, your bag has been delivered," said D'Anne Mica, spokesperson for Bags VIP.

Contact staff writer Linda Loyd at 215-854-2831 or lloyd@phillynews.com.

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