Pack Light Or Pay Up – United's New Baggage Policy

February 18, 2008 | By | Reply More
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luggageUnited Airlines has announced a new baggage policy to take effect in early May. There will now be a $25 fee for a second piece of checked luggage and a $100 fee for a 3 or 4th bag for everyone except their elite fliers. Give me a break! First I can’t carry my ‘good stuff’ in a carry on, so I’d better put it in my suitcase. Then if my suitcase weighs too much, I have to pay extra – so I’d better break it down into two bags. Now they’re going to charge me for that extra bag ($50 additional on my roundtrip ticket price)! aarrrggghhhh.

And to make matters worse, whenever you have a second bag to check, you can’t use curbside checkin. You must bring your bags inside to check in at the counter or kiosk.

Let’s imagine this in practice for a minute – You’ve decided to go skiing in Colorado, flying into Denver (a United hub). You’re planning to bring your skis and boots, so you’re looking at $250 in additional charges??? I don’t think so – JetBlue here I come. I guess United isn’t courting the business of golfers either. Or how about us shopaholics – better not buy that extra item if it won’t fit in your first suitcase. I know what’s really going to happen, everyone is going to bulk up their carry on case and boarding is going to be even more of a nightmare!

But, this is all just the beginning of extra charges to come. With jet fuel prices skyrocketing, every airline is looking for ways to increase their revenue by “unbundling” services. In short, this means they are going to nickel and dime us to death. Want a pretzel? That will be $5. How about a aisle seat? Sure, that will cost you extra. Oh you didn’t checkin by computer in advance, that will cost you too. Can coin slots on the bathrooms be far away?

So what this new trend towards “unbundling” of services says to me is that the traditional legacy US airlines are on a fast track to becoming no service, no frill, bare bones carriers. And for this they want more money? I do find it encouraging however that a week after the announcement, no other carrier has followed suite. Hopefully this will be a trial balloon that goes POP!

Category: Packing Tips, Trip Planning