I imagine Scott Jordan, the CEO of the stylish, yet very functional ScotteVest is on a mission to be heard and seen by everyone. Yes, including photographers.
I received a direct message from him on Twitter asking me to check out a link regarding a ScotteVest advertisement that Delta Airlines had rejected. It was a similar advertisement to the one his company published in The New York Times.
Here is the advertisement in its original form:
You can only imagine why the advertisement was rejected by Delta. It calls out a spate of US airlines that have opted to charge additional baggage fees if you decide to fly with them. And it gives travelers a very viable solution – the ScotteVest – to “beat the system.”
Let me be clear – I do not own a ScotteVest product (yet). And this isn't a paid or unpaid advertisement for Scott Jordan or his company. I have received nothing in exchange for blogging about this issue. I used to love getting on a plane and traveling. I have traveled to Europe, East Asia and to just about every state in the US. Well, the airlines industry in the US have found ways to make it intolerable (save for one airlines called Southwest).
When the “extra baggage fees” were announced, I knew I would be flying less. Not that I carry a stack of suitcases when I photograph domestic or international weddings, but the very fact that airlines in the US had found a way to essentially tax me over and above what it costs to fly with them, well, irked me to no end. Note the distinction – we are referring to these new charges for “extra” baggage not just “excess” baggage. From my understanding, one is charged “excess” baggage if and when one goes over a certain amount of weight per suitcase AND also has an additional bag to check in. Fine. We've lived and put up with that for a while and it makes sense. You can't have one person flying with 10 suitcases all filled to the brim. “Extra” baggage charges, which I am lamenting about now, is when an airline deems it necessary to charge you for ANY checked bag; weight and dimension limits also remain in full effect, of course. If you were traveling for just an overnight trip, you may be able to get away with a duffel bag or a carry-on suitcase (though there are rumblings already that those TOO may be incur a charge!!). However, if you are traveling for a week or more, you will want to carry more with you. Add traveling with children to the mix and you parents know that things become quite a production.
In my opinion, this nickel-and-diming is surely the first step towards a very slippery slope for the airline industry. I wonder if charging us to use the bathrooms on their flights, where we would be required to swipe our credit cards to open the door, would be the next logical step. I am sure some bean-counter is already salivating at the very thought. Where and when airlines should be encouraging travel, they have found innovative and asinine solutions to tax passengers, disrupt and frustrate people's lives.
In again a Twitter exchange, my friend Steven Frischling (whose blog Flying With Fish you must read), says:
So do you think Delta or any other airline will want to turn away nearly $735 million every year? No way! Airlines have forgotten that traveling by air used to be a positive experience. Now, it's more of a nightmare, especially with necessary security checks and other unforeseeable delays. So here comes an innovative company with a great product to make people's lives a little bit easier when they travel. But no, the airlines will have none of it.
Scott Jordan's appeal is simple. This is a David vs. the Goliath, he says. And I agree. This is about the little man/woman being constantly stepped on. ScotteVest products may provide a traveler the ideal solution to carrying a lot of the things one would normally check-in, but I somehow doubt every traveler will opt for a jacket in lieu of checking in a couple of suitcases. To that end, I think Delta is being just plain silly for rejecting the advertisement in Delta Sky, their in-flight magazine. By denying ScotteVest's advertisement to appear in their magazine, they have inadvertently (and to Jordan's glee, I am sure) created a maelstrom of interest in his offerings. Isn't all publicity, still good publicity?
Read Scott Jordan's official statement on Delta's decision to reject his “Beat the System – how to avoid extra bag fees” advertisement.
What do you think? Is Scott Jordan's appeal much ado about nothing or are you also frustrated by the baggage fees that airlines are charging you when you travel and want a solution you can use? As a photographer how have the new baggage allowances affected the way you travel and ultimately your business? Send a message to the airlines by commenting below!