How to rid yourself of excess baggage – and friends

21st May, 2011

Dear Economist,
Me and my friends are a pickle. Twelve of us have agreed to go on holiday in July. Everything is sorted apart from one thing. We originally planned to take hand luggage to save money – we’re all 18 and flying budget. That seems fine – as the apartments we are going to (one of which my parents own) have almost everything we could need bar clothes.
But now certain members of the group say that 10kg of luggage simply isn’t enough, and want to pay an additional £26 for their bags. This would be fine, except that means an early check in and starting at 3.30am instead of 5.30am – unfair to the parents who have volunteered transport.
I’ve been trying to think of a fair way to impose an additional cost on these people to either discourage them or compensate everyone else. Any suggestions on how I could increase the private costs so they reflect social costs? Obviously these people are my friends, so I don’t want to be too harsh on them.
Dear F.M.
I am surprised your parents haven’t resolved this conundrum for you already – they seem to have laid out everything else on a plate.
No matter. I have a big bag of political philosophy right here to sort you out. Your problem is your Marxist insistence on collective burden sharing. Take a free market approach instead: if your friends Imelda Marcos and co. want to get up two hours earlier, let them. If they can persuade their parents, fine. Otherwise they can pay for the cab. The rest of you should travel seperately, enjoy the comparative lie-in, and avail yourselves of the free transport.
Oh, and if one of them suggests buying your holiday drinks in rounds – tell them to go first, and ask for champagne.

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