By Anna Gouldman
Imagine walking into an airport empty handed and checking onto your flight electronically before boarding your plane. On arrival, after a passport check, you go straight to your hotel to find your luggage waiting for you. This could be the future of air travel according to entrepreneur, Gideon Kafiner, who has set up a new budget service, Flymycase.com, which ensures the safe arrival of luggage to your hotel before you arrive yourself.
Gideon Kasfiner, who sold his previous shipping business for an excess of £3 million, recently launched flymycase.com as a low cost alterenative to the luggage free travel service offered by parent company, First Luggage. He expects to move up to 30, 000 cases in the first year.
Heightened security and excess baggage charges from low cost airlines has made the idea of sending luggage ahead more attractive in the European marketplace. Up until now, such services have been perceived as a luxury with unaffordable prices. Flymycase.com has been carefully priced as a budget alternative with costs from just £59 to Europe.
According to Gideon, customers enjoy having one less thing to worry about and can save time and money using this service: “We have found customers love the fact that their luggage is already where it should be before they leave their home”.
The service takes minutes to book online. Upon request, documents can be posted to customers who are not on email. Gideon comments: “We have a fully functional website. The actual booking process should take no more than a few minutes and within 30 seconds the customer will receive a booking confirmation email - the whole process is very speedy with the technology we have today”.
Customers travelling to Europe should book at least 48 hours before their trip. Travellers who are venturing outside of Europe should allow 72 hours.
The service, which operates according to a low cost business model, will rely on mass consumption. Gideon revealed: “By creating more volume, the prices will be reduced and the mass market will catch on. It’s like the mobile phone 20 years ago - hardly anyone had one and now everyone has got one and the prices have come right down”.
So what differentiates Flymycase.com from First Luggage - apart from the price? First Luggage—which started last July in Europe and has since expanded to serve North America, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and the Middle East—sends customers’ bags ahead to their final destination for a per-item fee; it also updates customers on their bags’ location via e-mail text messages. Flymycase.com, on the other hand, charges by weight and does not offer text-message updates, though customers can track their luggage on the Web site. Also, there are discounts based on the number of bags checked.
Unlike First Luggage, Flymycase.com does not offer a money back guarantee on the off-chance that luggage is not delivered on time. Gideon commented: “If something does go wrong we will do our best to see that the customer is made happy under the circumstance”. He added: “Our service is backed by Fed Ex which is probably the best known courier company on the planet. That’s probably the biggest assurance”.
Gideon, who predicts that in the future, travellers will no longer carry their luggage, believes that airlines are wasting their resources on luggage handling, which should be left to the experts. He commented:
“22% of airline expenditure surrounds the handling of luggage and I think companies like ours in the future will be carrying the luggage and the airlines won’t. The airlines could use that money to create better money for their customers and leave the luggage to people who specialise in that field”. He added: “I can see check in desks not being there in future - the whole process of security will change and of course security is a major thing - if there weren’t people with luggage walking into airports I think everyone’s life much more comfortable”.
Low cost airlines, heightened security and the constant evolution of the internet have changed the air travel landscape. Luggage free travel just might be the solution to easing some of the stress of the modern day travelling experience.