Britain's fourth largest airport is introducing a £1 charge for airport luggage trolleys from 26th July 2008. London Luton Airport, owned by Spanish company TBI, will begin charging £1 (or €2) for use of the trolleys from next month and are expected to make millions of pounds from the new system.
Supermarket shoppers will have used a similar service where a pound coin enables you to use a trolley during your visit. However, the new airport charge will not be refundable and the profits will be shared between Luton Airport and the trolley provider - Bagport.
Over ten million passengers pass through Luton Airport every year, giving a clear indication of how much profit the airport is expected to make from this new enterprise. A similar system is already in operation at the much smaller Bristol Airport, but with Luton taking the initiative it could suggest that many more UK airports will follow.
Luton Airport have stated that the charge is being brought in to improve other facilities for customers, although this has not appeased James Fremantle of the AIrport Transport Users Council. Fremantle slammed the idea, saying "Airports and airlines are charging for everything these days. Elderly people might do themselves a nasty injury if they don't want to pay this fee. This is a step too far - and we would hope other airports do not follow suit."
Passengers flying from the UK already face substantial charges including fuel surcharges, passenger duty, parking costs as well as the initial price of the flights plus tax. Coupled with the growing trend amongst budget airlines to charge for each bag the customer takes, the cost of flying continues to grow.