In recent years, airport security has become increasingly stringent. Where before, airlines would occasionally make exceptions and special allowances, strict adherence to policy under all circumstances is followed. To ensure that all travelers safely arrive at their destination, airlines have implemented many security regulations regarding checking bags and flying with luggage. Different airlines might have slightly varying policies in regard to their luggage procedures, so always double-check with a representative for the specific airline carrier in question.
Limited Luggage Space
Airplanes have limited space available for bags and luggage. Even passengers who will be flying on the aircraft are limited in the number of bags they can check, as well as the size and weight of each bag. In addition, many airlines are reducing the number of flights offered, which means that flights are generally quite full. This means it is unlikely that an aircraft will be willing or able to accommodate extra luggage from a nonflying passenger.
Cost and Alternate Methods
Most airlines will require you to have a purchased ticket to check any luggage onto an aircraft. This can be a very costly method of shipping a piece of luggage if you are not intending on traveling to the final destination. As well, you will need to have someone available to receive your luggage at the destination airport. Many alternate package-shipping methods are much more cost effective and efficient, such as the Postal Service or FedEX.
Before an airplane takes off, it is part of airport policy to verify that each passenger's bag is on the correct aircraft. If you have not checked in or boarded your aircraft, it is likely that your luggage will be removed from the plane. This can cause significant delays for your fellow travelers, in addition to causing hassles and difficulty for you and the airport crew. You might also face stern questioning and possibly even fines if it is found that you were intentionally attempting to ship your luggage in this fashion.
All airlines take baggage security extremely seriously. Luggage is thoroughly screened and examined before being loaded onto an aircraft. Having a passenger ship luggage without flying on the aircraft is considered a significant security threat. This is the most likely reason for why you will be denied shipping a piece of luggage if you are not also traveling on the same airplane. Regardless of your intentions, airlines cannot accept the risk of shipping a piece of luggage from an unknown person.