Baggage fees are a boost to airline revenues, but they are unraveling the business of another airport staple — Smarte Cartes.
Bob Hope Airport officials agreed last week to slash the concession fee they charge Smarte Carte, which rents luggage carts from racks by the terminals, by more than 80%. Business is tanking as airline luggage fees of $25 to $35 per checked bag spur travelers to pack lighter, Smarte Carte officials told the airport.
In response to the revenue decline, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority has agreed to eliminate Smarte Carte’s annual $57,000 rental fee in exchange for 10% of the company’s receipts. The change is forecast to save the company more than $47,000 next year.
“Smarte Carte has seen a real fall-off with the business they are doing here,” Denis Carvill, the airport’s director of contracts and properties, told the authority.
Representatives for Minnesota-based Smarte Carte, which provides carts at 150 airports around the country and hosts cell-phone charging stations, did not return calls seeking comment. But airport officials reported that Smarte Carte revenues are off 25% to 30% around the nation, and as much as 40% at Bob Hope Airport.