United Airlines To Charge $15 For First Checked Bag

You knew it was coming and well, it’s here. United Airlines has announced that they will begin charging $15 for the first checked bag.

They’ve also raised the fee it charges to check three or more bags, overweight bags or items that require special handling to $125 from $100, or to $250 from $200, depending on the item, says Yahoo!

United wasn’t shy about the fact that they’re twisting arms.

“With record-breaking fuel prices, we must pursue new revenue opportunities, while continuing to offer competitive fares, by tailoring our products and services around what our customers value most and are willing to pay for,” John Tague, UAL’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

United Airlines to charge fee to check single bag [Yahoo!] (Thanks, Kevin!)
(Photo: Balmes )

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  1. lalaland13 says:

    I can hear it now: A guy bragging that he got the body scan and was then told, “Hey dude, you’re gonna have to pay $15 to check that package.”

  2. Snakeophelia says:

    Wunnerful. So now even MORE people are going try to cram everything they own in the overhead compartments. Explain to me why, if this is related to fuel usage, a checked bag is $15 while a carryon bag is free?

  3. Phillip1952 says:

    Whats next a coin slot on the bathroom door? No Flight attendants, a $5 spot for a seat belt, air surcharge for the tires. Tip jar at the door for the pilots.. Where will it end?

  4. ffmariners says:

    Now as long as they enforce weight limits and size limits for carry ons… hopefully people will start traveling lighter.

  5. sporks says:

    Anyone want to start an airline bankruptcy betting pool with me? I’ll put $20 on United declaring by January 2009.

  6. ffmariners says:

    @Phillip1952: Ugh I wish I would have become a pilot, they make bankkkkkkkk

  7. Wormfather says:

    Wow, you see what the did there. Checking your bags used to be what you had to do. Now, it’s a “Product”. That’s hot.

    Next, bagging groceries, doormen opening doors, police officer saving your life. All chargable services.

    1-900-911, here we come.

  8. B says:

    According to the Colbert Report, airlines are going to start charging by pound, which is the motivation we need to finally fix the obesity crisis.

  9. arthurat says:

    I think I’m done flying.

  10. Amy Alkon000 says:

    Watch for sharp elbows in the race to board the plane. Little old ladies had better not expect to put their handbags in the overhead, unless they’re also weightlifters and 500-yard dash champions.

  11. am84 says:

    Ughhhhhhhhh I am flying United for a work conference (not my choice, company booked it) and it’s a week long, so I have to check a bag. Bye, bye $30.

  12. ezMoney258 says:

    if you just had a real train system like here in Europe :-) 220 miles an hour in quiet clean modern environment…and on time or your money back! Anything less than 1000 miles, you win time going center of town – center of town above flying…no check-in, security, etc etc…..pity you have Amtrack (although it still puzzles me that a prime airline like KLM- Air France doesnt need to resort to all of this and still remains the most profitabel airline in the world).

  13. catnapped says:

    @Phillip1952: They’re going to have turnstyles at the gate (entry fee=$20)

  14. Janet4784 says:

    United is sinking faster than the Titanic, and deservedly so. I’ve never had such bad experiences flying. I’ll be cashing in my miles on hotel stays, magazines, anything but flights. Good riddance.

  15. PinkNightmare says:

    @B:

    Want to pay to fly by the pound? Here you go! [flyderrie-air.com]

  16. mtarget says:

    We had to pay $20/bag on Spirit a few weeks ago. $15 sounds like a deal.

  17. sir_pantsalot says:

    There is no way they can fit a carry on bag for everyone on the plane into the cabin. Shortly we will see peoples carry on bags being checked at the gate like they do with strollers before they board the plane beacuse there is no more room in the overhead compartments. I’m sure they will ask for the $15 because you are checking a bag. This will lead to longer boarding and a lot longer unboarding times.

  18. raisitup says:

    if united said “we’re going to increase our fares across the board”, you poo-poo’ers would be crying about all united air travelers having to suffer instead of only those who essentially cause more gas to be used, aka “those rotten people who check bags”. i don’t like it any more than anyone else but they have to stay in business, right? fuel cost increases aren’t their fault, right?

  19. GothamGal says:

    @ezMoney258:

    Because Air France is notorious for losing your luggage. Would you pay $15 for that privilege?

  20. GMFish says:

    “Tip jar at the door for the pilots.. Where will it end?”

    A tip jar? Don’t you mean an additional Pilot Service Fee?

  21. @Phillip1952: Please don’t give them any ideas. :)

  22. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    FWIW, Southwest still gives you 2 checked bags at no cost.

  23. AD8BC says:

    I don’t have a problem with this, and I fly a lot. Mostly American (I live in Fort Worth). Of course, I don’t have to pay to check bags on American because I am an elite member. And, even if I had to pay, I could put it on my expense report. But the idea is sound–have people pay for what they use. Charge (a reasonable amount) for snacks and soda. Charge for the bags. Don’t charge for air or the bathroom though.

    I am opposed to charging people by weight, but you could charge rental for the seat belt extensions.

  24. DeafChick says:

    So I guess people won’t be flying United anymore.

  25. I seriously began to question whether this will actually save money for United if they charge this fee because it will inevitable add time to check in procedures and boarding of the plane since people will refuse to pay the charge and try and carry on stuff they can’t fit. This will of course cause extra headaches for everyone.

    Then I realized that the Airlines really don’t give a hoot if they are on time or not, so scratch that whole economic perspective.

    What was the latest stat, something like a 41% drop in airmiles flown in the last year? Coincidence?

  26. sir_pantsalot says:

    If I want to check one bag that will be $15 but they over book the flights and they will give me $300 voucher for the next overbooked flight.

    In the real world where we live if your finances are tight you are supposed to look inward first to see where you can cut costs before you start attacking you source of income for not giving you enough.

  27. Jbball says:

    Another reason I’ll never fly.

    1. I don’t want to die.
    2. I won’t pay the insane amount it costs.
    3. I don’t want to feel like a sardine for 3+ hours
    4. I don’t want to have to pay for a soft drink/bag of peanuts
    5. Driving is better and cheaper.

  28. MaytagRepairman says:

    @sporks: United filed for bankruptcy a little over 2 years ago and came back. I hope your pool is for it to go to bankruptcy and never come back.

  29. frari489 says:

    @Snakeophelia: Explain to me why, if this is related to fuel usage, a checked bag is $15 while a carryon bag is free?

    please don’t be giving them ideas!

  30. IamToddDavis says:

    I wonder if the fee will be waived for disabled passengers or those unable to use the overhead bin.

  31. ffmariners says:

    @IamNotToddDavis: Coincidence? No… Its a vicious cycle… Costs increase substantially, prices raise to meet costs, Prices are now out of some customers price tolerances, Less people fly, This drives cost per customer up, Now prices must raise again…

    I mean… I personally don’t blame them for raising prices. For every cent gas goes up… the industries costs go up $300 million. Pretty insane really. (This was a USA Today article, I will look for it)

  32. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Snakeophelia: Because you need to pay someone, with benefits, to load and unload checked luggage.

  33. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @IamNotToddDavis: Airlines are concerned with being on time. Its one of there largest preventable costs. Its also one of the reasons Southwest is doing well. Since you seat yourself, there is an incentive to getting there early and becuase of this more of their flights leave on time.

  34. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Jbball: You don’t want to die. There are endless statistics that show driving is far more dangerous than air travel.

  35. Tekneek says:

    Just following American’s lead. These are bad businesses that you should only do business with if you have no other option.

  36. logicalnoise says:

    here in chicago, O’hare and the city of chicago are reportedly looking into suing united over this. Mostly due to the contract united has with the airport which states that United is barred from discriminating certian classes of travelers. United doesn’t have a 15 dollar fee for their premier users. We’ll see where this goes.

  37. ffmariners says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: Amongst many other reasons

  38. Jubilance22 says:

    And this is why I just booked a flight to Philly on Southwest. It was the lowest fare by $75 than any other carrier and I get to check 2 bags for free. I never fly American and United and these new fees will only keep me away from those airlines.

  39. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @ffmariners: Yes, one of many.

  40. AndyRogers says:

    My buddy is a pilot. He actually just got his wings. I was talking to him about what a pain in the ass flying was. He said being a pilot sucks too… MOSTLY because the “veteran” (read: older) pilots back in the day were pulling down $400K a year and they refuse to except pay cuts. So if you paid pilots even a REASONABLE generous salary because, let’s face it, they ARE responsible for numerous lives, and start maxing them out at $200K (VERY reasonable salaries), I think the airlines would be in much better shape. $400K salaries is ridiculous. Plain and simple. ESPECIALLY when airline are cutting retirements, raising prices, charging for bags, etc. I’d be very willing to bet that “complimentary” beverage services are going to end… United in bankruptcy by Jan 09? Didn’t they just get out of bankruptcy…

    There’s something wrong with the industry as a whole. NO OTHER industry is having this kind of issue, even fuel-dependent industries. I mean we are all sucking up higher gas prices but it seems like airlines are ALWAYS the first ones to call mercy – they never get out of the red…

    Oh – I also noticed that suddenly, my earned Premium identifier disappeared from my United Boarding Passes. Not that it ever really entitled me to anything anyway, but I wonder if they’re cutting those too.

  41. @ffmariners: I don’t blame them for raising prices either. I mean, they aren’t a charity- it is a business that exists to provide a service and turn a profit. But I just wonder at what point do these cost increases end up costing more than they bring in?

    @HIV 2 Elway: So again, am I alone in wondering if this fee increase will actually hurt more than help overall?

  42. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @IamNotToddDavis: I have a hard time beliving that checking bags at the gate will make United anymore inefficient. Soley because, I can’t imagine a company can be run worse. I flew United Sunday and it was a nightmare.

  43. Nogard13 says:

    This blows. United is not only the worst airline, but they really are poorly managed.

    Iflyswa.com from now on.

  44. malvones says:

    @ezMoney258: unfortunately, KLM-Air France’s aircraft don’t run on smug.

    They posted a 16 percent drop in net profit for 07/08 and project further losses due to fuel.

  45. GearheadGeek says:

    @ezMoney258: Ah, yes, wouldn’t that be nice. However, Europeans have been subsidizing their rail systems for decades with taxes, and that’s what has bought them a nice, useful rail system. TANSTAAFL. It didn’t “just happen” and it’s not easily applicable to the US because the population density of the US is less than 1/4th that of the EU, and heavily concentrated on the coasts. It’s farther from Waskom, TX to El Paso, TX than it is from Paris to Copenhagen, crossing 3 or 4 international borders. While I’d love to have useful rail service in more of the US, it’s just not readily comparable to Europe.

  46. Tekneek says:

    Blame the pilots? What about the guys in the big offices pulling down serious money? Nobody in an airline should be paid more than the best pilot.

  47. TheDude06 says:

    Woo hoo! finally! C’mon guys, it /never/ made sense that it costs $50 to airmail a box, but you can haul it for free on an airplane. Im tired of subsidizing all you baggage checkers on my weekend trips!

  48. kepler11 says:

    @logicalnoise:
    I would sure be interested to know on what grounds Chicago will be suing United for discrimination based on these bag fees (compared to when they didn’t sue for the 2nd bag charge a few months ago). Discriminating against the constitutionally protected class of people who buy cheap airline tickets? The class who don’t have frequent flyer status? The class of people who pack a lot? hmm. I can’t imagine it will get far.

  49. Kajj says:

    I’m sure I’ll be pilloried as a rabid feminist for saying this here, but there actually is a hidden sexism in luggage restrictions. Women, especially businesswomen, require more clothing, shoes, and personal care products to be considered presentable than men do. Men can get by with a single suit and some extra shirts. Most of them have wash-and-go haircuts and of course, wear no makeup. A woman who tried that would be labeled as lazy, unkempt, and unprofessional, and her commitment to whatever business she was travelling to attend to would be questioned.

    I like to travel as lightly as possible, but for business trips packing a full change of clothes for each day, two or three pairs of shoes, a couple of hair implements and a cosmetics case isn’t vanity – it’s the bare minimum required for acceptable grooming. There are some concessions I can make for effeciency, and I generally do, but anyone who would advise me to suck it up, shear off my hair, abandon makeup and wear the same suit for days on end simply isn’t being realistic.

    Women have to pack more than men do for the same trip. They also tend to need more than the 3oz allotment for cosmetics, hair- and skin-care products, which all but requires that they pay the checked-baggage fee. It’s unfair. If the Consumerist-crank-beloved “charge by weight” plan ever goes into effect, I’m pretty sure that will put women at a disadvantage too. The airline’s idea of a “standard woman” will undoubtedly be much farther from reality than their idea of the “standard man.”

  50. kepler11 says:

    @Kajj:
    Well, that’s the problem with equality. Women want all the same benefits, yet here you claim to have greater needs. How is someone to decide other than putting in place the exact same rules to treat everyone the same? Can you have it both ways? Just a little bit of discrimination?

    To give an example, in Japan, I have seen buffet restaurants that charge men more than women, because obviously men eat more. In the US, that would be a class action lawsuit waiting to happen… from men who had to pay more. What do you think?

  51. RevRagnarok says:

    @Snakeophelia: Exactly. They need to start enforcing those little Plexiglas cubes they used to have by the bridge. No more “the customer is always right” – I am sick of seeing the “all-you-can-lug” instead of simple “carry on,” and the attendants need to stop these pack mules.

    BTW, I don’t know if it has been mentioned but there are a fair number of exemptions. Not just frequent flier status but also gov’t tickets.

    (Disclosure: I travel one week a month for work, on United from Baltimore to Silicon Valley, and am therefore exempt of all these fees, and if I wasn’t, would just expense them and get 2% back from my AmEx anyway. That doesn’t make it right.)

  52. giggitygoo says:

    I can’t understand how the management of these airlines don’t realize that this will cost them more in flight delays than it will give them in fees. As someone who travels frequently (on United unfortunately) for business, I’d say 80%+ of my flights run out of carry-on space, which forces flight attendants to spend 10-15mins taking people’s bags, tagging them, and checking them. Considering most of these flights are late already before anyone steps on board, these 10-15min delays have to be costing the airline money. Of course this situation happens without these ridiculous checked bag fees. I can’t even imagine how bad this is going to be now that people are going to be incentivized to bring a carry-on rather than a checked bag. If nothing else these companies better strictly enforce carry-on rules to maximize available space. I can’t count how many times I see a single person filling up a whole compartment with 2+ bags, jackets, and shopping bags when they’re supposed to have only 1 bag in the overheads. Flying sucks. Ugh.

  53. lincolnparadox says:

    @ezMoney258: The US Congress has just set aside $15 billion dollars for Amtrak. We get it. Gas prices are up. The airlines are run by a bunch of chimps (much like our government). A reliable system of commuter trains coupled with a local public transportation network is vital to preserving the economy of a city/region. Not to mention that in many cases with cross-country travel, you may as well take the train if you’re just going to end up marooned overnight at the airport.

  54. hwyengr says:

    @GearheadGeek: Using tax dollars for useful things? How dare they! And if the argument is population density, then why don’t we have good train service where the country is dense? Looking at the light pollution maps from taken from space, this country is plenty dense to support inter-city rail east of the Mississippi. One transit method doesn’t have to fulfill every single need. Take the train from DC to Miami, but fly to Waskom, TX (well, Shreveport).

    Mind you, we already have trans-continental rail service through the vacant fields. It’s just slow. If it was fast, people would take it. I’d be fine getting from LA to Chicago in 12-15 hours. That’s about what it takes now with the air travel overhead.

  55. syndprod says:

    Question: If you have already purchased tickets for a flight (e.g. purchased in February for a flight in July), will they still charge you to check a bag? Or charge extra fuel charges? In other words, can they still hit you with fees after your ticket is purchased and paid for? Anyone know?

  56. Aresef says:

    Well hell. I was hoping they wouldn’t, as I have a lot of frequent flyer miles with them, but fortunately my airport (BWI) is a hub for Southwest, so I know where my travel dollars are going.

    My only issue is that United is the only BWI airline with year-round nonstops to LAX, where my dad lives, but I can live with taking SWA out there and back.

  57. Where is my comment?

  58. mike says:

    @sir_pantsalot: Well that’s the problem! We’re talking corporation. Just like a fat government, it’s easier to increase taxes and prices than it is to cut down.

    People will still pay taxes and people will still pay the money to fly. Sooner or later, alternative transportations will rise from the ashes and this will not be an issue.

    But, I’m not sure if I’d hold my breath.

  59. suzapalooza says:

    @syndprod: Good question – I’m in the same situation – flying United on Sunday. My mom broke her leg and is using a wheelchair for the trip (it’s her granddaughter’s graduation or she would simply not go). We’re attempting to cram stuff for three of us into one bag to cut down on what we have to lug thru the terminal. I wonder if they will charge us for checking the wheelchair, too? Is that discrimination against the disabled???

    And between the three of us, all women, we are packing one bottle of shampoo, hairspray and bath supplies, but makeup is a personal item that you don’t share for sanitary reasons. I’m afraid our toiletries alone with take up one bag!

  60. Joedragon says:

    They can’t make you pay any for a wheelchair.

  61. hwyengr says:

    I don’t have a link, but the DOT said something after American announced this same plan, that they couldn’t charge customers a new fee after they’d already purchased tickets.

    The baggage info page on United’s webpage probably lists medical check-in info.

  62. Elvisisdead says:

    The only way to solve this is to Nationalize the airlines and airports and pay People Postage based on weight. Everybody pays the same. You pay a fraction of a cent per pound per mile traveled. Different rates for different flights, if you want. All fees are added in a la carte, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

    Of course, I’m also a fan of the idea of making everyone pay taxes in cash to help people understand exactly how much they’re paying out and the purpose.

  63. sean77 says:

    @Kajj: well that’s bullshit. My wife just went to boston for a week, she fit all her clothes in a single carry-on, and didn’t check a thing.

  64. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I’d have more respect for the airlines if they were to be more transparent in their business. Tickets should show what the actual cost is, not “Fly with us for only $99*” (*plus $500 in fees.)

    If they’d be honest about how much it costs to fly instead of nickle and diming everybody with fees here and fees there, I don’t think there would be as much furor as there is now.

    With the new baggage fees, more people will take carry-ons. But the cabin’s can’t possibly fit a carry-on for every customer, and when you factor in delays and whatnot, nobody should be stupid enough to fly WITHOUT a carry-on containing at least a change of clothing etc.

  65. GearheadGeek says:

    @hwyengr: You’ll note that I never said the problem was speed or distance. I’m sure that now that it costs real money to fly, there’ll eventually be some modicum of usable rail service. Laying track capable of supporting high-speed rail from Chicago to LA isn’t going to happen this summer, though. Most of our rails wouldn’t support sustained 125 mph travel, much less the 160 mph or so you’d have to average to get from Chicago to LA in 14 hours or so with the inevitable stops in Denver and Vegas. Never mind the freight trains on the SAME tracks.

    If we had put the same kind of investment of engineering and infrastructure into the rail system that we did the air travel and interstate highway systems, we’d have 300-mph trains linking at least the major metropolitan areas all over the country, with no grade crossings and first-class sleeper cabins with 200 channels of satellite TV. Instead we have the red-headed stepchild that is Amtrak that’s a second-class citizen even on the rails, never mind how secondary it is to car and air travel in most of the country.

    I love traveling by train. I don’t think the American public would have been willing to pay the taxes necessary to buy right-of-way and build infrastructure for a euro-quality high-speed rail system when they could fly cross-country for $99. Now that kerosene costs real money, we can start playing catch-up. Maybe in 20 years you’ll be able to take that Chicago-LA Intercity Express in 14 hours or so.

  66. Kajj says:

    @sean77: Oh, okay. I guess I’ll shut my little mouth and get back to cooking, then.

  67. anniefannie says:

    I am absolutely amazed at all the whiners out there. I work for an airline and can tell you that most of us are not millionaires. Since 9-11 I have had my vacation cut, my insurance payments increased and my pay cut. The airlines are losing money on every single passenger. 8 years ago 15% of the cost of the ticket was for fuel. It is now 40%. The cost of groceries have gone up. Gas to fuel your car has gone up. Everytime airlines try to raise fares to where they actually should be no one will buy tickets. There is too much seat capacity. At some point airlines that file for bankruptcy should actually go bankrupt. Prices would then increase because there would be fewer seats and more demand for them. Analysts are saying that domestic flights need to be cut by 20 percent. But that will mean that fewer people will be able to afford to fly.

  68. rten says:

    $15 to check a bag –> I don’t check a bag

    no checked bag –> you get searched as a “suspect” terrorist

    full cavity search with nothing found –> I’m sorry you missed your flight, but there is nothing we as the airline can do.

  69. KarmaChameleon says:

    @Phillip1952: Ha! If it works for Rollercoaster Tycoon….

  70. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    Avoid the CHARGES

    I’m a Premier member of Uniteds Mileage Plus because of quite a few international trips lately. I received an e-mail today that said I was NOT subject to this policy. In fact I can check 2 bags free of charge. Without Premier status its $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second. It further stated that anyone traveling on my reservation -like my family would not have to pay the charge either.

    How can you get Premier status and avoid these charges if you aren’t lucky enough to jet around the world? Simply go to Mileageplus.com and sign up for their card. The first time you use it, you get 25,000 miles – enough for a free domestic flight AND Premier status so no extra charges.

    I’m pasting in the e-mail I got from United for you to read below.

  71. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    E-mail received from UNITED.COM
    Our best customers are exempt from first and second bag fees

    Dear Mr. XXXX XXXXXXX,

    We want you to be among the first to know about changes to our checked baggage policy and revised fees for excess, oversized and overweight baggage and special items.

    Today, we are announcing that for tickets issued on or after June 13, 2008 for travel on or after August 18, 2008, a $15 service fee will apply to check one bag for United Economy® travel within the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada. As previously announced, a $25 service fee will apply to check a second bag.

    As a valued Premier® member of Mileage Plus®, you will continue to be exempt from both first and second checked bag fees.

    It is our pleasure to inform you that you and any companions traveling with you on the same reservation can each still check two bags free of charge, up to 50 pounds (23 kg) per piece. As always, you can skip check-in lines at the airport by using EasyCheck-in OnlineSM, even when checking bags.

    We would like to remind you that additional baggage fees apply to check more than two bags, or if any bags are oversized, overweight and/or considered special items. These fees are also changing and the revised fees will apply to tickets purchased on or after June 13, 2008 for travel on or after August 18, 2008. Please visit the Oversized, overweight and excess baggage and Special items sections on united.com for details on these fees.

    Also, if you are traveling in United First® or United Business®, you are invited to be among the first to board your flight so you can find ample space for your carry-on bags, by using specially-designated Premium Boarding lanes marked with a red carpet. Or choose to board at your leisure, knowing that you’ll have front-of-the-line access at any time. Premium Boarding is now available at nearly 60 airports system-wide. If you are traveling in United Economy®, you may still enjoy priority boarding early during the boarding process with Seating Area 1.

    For details on our baggage policies and frequently asked questions, you are invited to visit united.com/baggage.

    As always, we thank you for your business and look forward to welcoming you onboard soon.

  72. KarmaChameleon says:

    @Kajj: Don’t try to talk sense here with regards to gender issues. Unfortunately this is not Jezebel.

  73. lihtox says:

    The airlines are morons at PR; they should instead raise all their prices by $15 and offer a discount for passengers who don’t check baggage (or maybe a $15 credit towards your next flight, or a mail-in rebate, or some other mechanism to save them even more money). Same result, but they come off looking like nice guys instead of bad guys.

  74. fhic says:

    @sporks:

    Anyone want to start an airline bankruptcy betting pool with me?

    Sure, I’ll put $20 on December 9, 2002. Oops, looks like you owe me $20: [www.usatoday.com]

    I can’t imagine how it would help them this time around; they already raped the retirees, the pension funds, the unions, and pretty much everybody they owed money to.

    As a child I was fed, clothed, educated, and well-traveled because of a union job at United Airlines, and I wouldn’t fly them today if they were operating the last flight out of Baghdad.

  75. hwyengr says:

    @GearheadGeek: Assuming all goes to plan, California will operate it’s high-speed rail network in the next 10 years or so. 220 mph trains linking Sacramento to San Diego, downtown LA to downtown San Francisco in 2.5 hours. My dream is that other regions see the success that it will be, build their own regional rail networks, and eventually interconnect them.

    Of course I don’t expect to see this for decades at best, but I’m 27. I can wait.

    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov

  76. hwyengr says:

    I wouldn’t be so pessimistic now, though. Infrastructure construction is about the only true manufacturing industry that hasn’t been outsourced. Once the economy goes even further down the toilet, I think there’s going to be a great boom in federal funding for construction since it creates so many jobs, from the engineers to the guy holding the “slow” sign. Of course there’s not going to be an improvement this summer, but I don’t think it’s out of the question over the next couple of decades.

  77. ironchef says:

    fly Virgin America.

    They don’t have those BS fees.

  78. kepler11 says:

    @vitonfluorcarbon:
    unfortunately, the 25000 miles you earn when you sign up for that credit card are not miles that qualify you for elite status. Those are miles you can spend (like for tickets, etc), but not miles that qualify towards Premier. *Those* miles you have to actually earn, butt in seat, as they say.

  79. rpm773 says:

    So I bought tickets in April for a September trip to Hawaii. I bought Economy Plus for my wife and I. It upped the price of the tickets about $225/piece.

    I’m waiting to hear that sometime between now and September United will start cramming extra seats onto the airplanes, effectively eliminating Economy Plus, thereby screwing those that paid for the extra legroom in advance.

    I got this idea after that post about Northwestern Airlines and its BS premium economy seating. Keeping my fingers crossed….

  80. kepler11 says:

    @lihtox:
    Unfortunately, I think it’s easier for the airline systems to charge people extra amounts versus give them refunds. Imagine the new refund infrastructure that would have to be created to put your plan in place — many, many people would be getting refunds. I’m not saying I disagree — it’s a good idea, because people psychologically like discounts much more than surcharges, even when they’re effectively the same thing. But from a practical point of view, I don’t think airlines have the luxury to put this kind of thing in place at the moment.

  81. googleguru says:

    So basically United Airlines is the Air Canada of the United States? Air Canada charges $25 for a second checked luggage bag now and has a fee for just about everything else you could ever think of, not to mention their horrible “customer service”.

  82. vitonfluorcarbon says:

    @kepler11:

    Well, that’s a bummer. I thought I could actually help some people with this charge that they are imposing.

    You can still rest assured that they CAN not have your luggage arrive when you do all the time, even if you are there 2 hours ahead of time. I know airlines want to do the best for customers, but I think it is an impossible dream.

    PS… my butt is sore from being in that seat. I would gladly pay $15 per trip for a checked bag to not be on a plane for 10-12 hours in coach. At least Lufthansa serves free beer and wine on the flight.

  83. Rachael says:

    I don’t mind paying but I DO mind that more people will be carrying on way too much luggage. I’m already sick of the carry-on juggling that people have to do because they’re bringing way too goddamn much on board.

  84. kepler11 says:

    @rpm773:
    Economy Plus is a big deal to United fliers, and it can be a product worth the slightly higher cost, especially if you need the leg room. For Hawaii, definitely. They are not going to be compromising or changing that any time soon, as long as they stay in business I am willing to bet. Plus the fact that airlines can’t just change their plane configurations faster than say, years, even if they wanted to.

    One tip in the future — instead of shelling out $ per ticket each time for an upgrade to Economy Plus, if you fly with them often, you might want to buy their Economy Plus access membership for ~$350(?), which gets you and a companion into that section for a year on all your travels.

  85. ZukeZuke says:

    I bought UAL tix in May for a July trip, so I escaped the charge! :)

    I agree with others here though, my biggest travel pet peeve is those ass-hats taking up 1-2 overhead bins with all their crap. Laptop bag, jumbo purse bag, garment bag… WTF! How about 1 bag per person, and check the rest like everyone else. There ain’t enough cabin room for everyone on the plane to bring that much crap on. This new charge is only going to aggravate that situation unless they limit the # of carry-ons. (please oh please)

    Ok, rant over. Whew.

  86. hwyengr says:

    @anniefannie: I don’t have a problem with the airlines trying to generate more revenue, I abhor the way they’re doing it. If it costs more to move people across the country, raise your fares. Don’t try to hide the costs in upcharges. There’s a minimum level of service that’s expected when buying airline tickets. Transporting a modest amount of luggage is certainly part of that minimum. Why does an 8-hour “domestic” flight from Honolulu to Chicago not have meal service, while a 7 hour flight from Dulles to London does? If I wanted to be nickel and dimed, I’d fly a budget carrier. I always pay extra to fly a mainline carrier, but now I’ve got no reason for it.

  87. u1itn0w2day says:

    Just build the fuel cost into the ticket price.How much would let’s say a 5$ increase on EVERY ticket sold bring in.

    To me the airlines were already on the ground by the late 90s.2001 just buried them.

    There are so many little ways that would help generate revenue when you buy the ticket.For example if you want what they call a meal-offer it for let’s say 2$ at purchase time,otherwise 4$ after that.Offer 2 checked bags for 10$ at time of purchase,after that 15$.I hate dealing with all those add ons but unless they just build the cost into EVERY ticket the nickel and diming will increase.

  88. Cliff_Donner says:

    I don’t begrudge an airline their profit. But trying to disguise this profit by shunting off to a separate fee every single service other than hauling your carcass, living or dead, from point A to point B, is not the way to do it. OK, I can accept that checking a second bag is a “luxury” for which some people should pay extra. But doesn’t ‘most everybody check at least one bag??

    I guess my rule of thumb would be, if the service is something that at least 80% of your customers will require, build the cost into the price of the ticket.

    And particularly, if it’s something the customer has absolutely no control over whatsoever, making it a surcharge is just disingenuous. (“Fuel surcharge? No thanks, I just bought a ticket that should take me to my destination. I don’t need any extra fuel.”)

    An “extra charge,” if it’s not possible for me as a consumer to reject it, and still receive the basic service, should not be an “extra charge” — the expense should be factored into my base price.

  89. couldbebopeep says:

    this makes perfect sense. i travel internationally on average 2 times a month and am able to pack everything i need in a carryon + laptop bag. this includes toiletries and makeup. just learn to pack!

  90. fearnofish says:

    This is why I love SOUTHWEST AIRLINES and why there airline is doing just fine while these others are ‘crashing’. http://www.iflyswa.com Fly them if you don’t want to pay ridiculous fees!