United Raises 2nd Checked Bag Fee To $50

Think twice about bringing home Thanksgiving leftovers: United will raise fees for 2nd checked bags to $50 from $25 staring November 10th. [United] (Photo: zonaphoto) (Thanks to Derek!)

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  1. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    WHY? Aren’t fuel prices plummetting? Wasn’t this raised to offset the cost of rising fuel prices?

    Do they really want to lose ALL their business?

  2. DeltaTee says:

    People who cost more to fly will pay more to fly. If you disagree with the cost increase, I’m sure another airline would be happy to have your business.

    • SBR249 says:

      @DeltaTee: Yes, that argument would have been more solid if oil prices aren’t in the low $60s right now…

      Charging for bags isn’t a new concept, but raising the fees in the current economic environment is a little egregious.

  3. HIV 2 Elway says:

    No one should need a carry on and two checked bags. Learn to pack light.

    • Scuba Steve says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Yes, because when you go on a two week vacation, having to find a laundromat in a foreign country is so fun!

      • johnmc says:

        @Scuba Steve: These are “domestic” (US/Canada) charges.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @Scuba Steve: And when you go on a two week vacation lugging around 3 bags is so fun!

        • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I’m vexed, I dont know what to say. On one hand, I think the idea of telling people that “no one should need more than one bag and one carry on” is very closed minded. Then on the other hand in a capitalistic society, which I belive in, not charging for something you can would be just as bad”

        • jamar0303 says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Fine, how about a 2-week vacation that turned into a 3 year-long stay? If I hadn’t brought the limit I’d be good and …ed.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @Scuba Steve: it IS possible… i did 2 weeks in europe last summer with a carryon and my laptop bag. and yes, i am female and took nice looking clothes and a couple of pairs of shoes. it’s not EASY…. just possible
        actually i didn’t find a laundromat, i washed my clothes in hotel bathrooms and took a laundry line with me.

        • HIV 2 Elway says:

          @catastrophegirl: Each ticketed passenger gets a carry on. If you can fit yours and your 3 kids luggage in 4 carry one sized bags, you’re over packing. Then you and one of your kids check the car seats at $15 each (do they charge to check car seats?).

          • kathyl says:

            @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: A lot of people don’t get a separate seat for small babies, especially babies small enough that you’ll be holding them the entire flight anyway. I got my child a seat when I flew with my daughter when she was five months old, but many people don’t do that.

            In that case, if I was bringing extra things for the baby (lots of parents fly with a portable crib or the like if they are going somewhere that there is no appropriate item they can rent/borrow for the baby to sleep in) I would certainly understand having to pay extra for more than my allotted baggage, but jacking up the prices on extra pieces of baggage as fuel prices are going *down* just seems like they are taking advantage because they feel they can get away with it.

            My feeling, based on the overly-opportunistic nature of most of this industry (being profitable is fine with me, but profiteering isn’t) is that I avoid using it at all, and choose airlines with the least objectionable policies when flying can’t practically be avoided. I’m actually not asking the airlines to change these policies, but they won’t get my business as a result of them. How they react if I and other people make that choice is up to them.

            • HIV 2 Elway says:

              @kathyl: Raising rates is bogus; I’m just saying that there are ways around it. Every time I travel I see family after family over packing. Every child does not need some 30″ x 20″ behemoth. Packing light is a learned skill.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: did you maybe mean that to TacoDave? I don’t have any kids….

    • Anonymous says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected:

      Pack light? How about a garment bag to keep dress clothes and a small bag for other clothes. Not glutenous, I think.

      Pack light might be easy for a trip to the beach. But, visiting family up north where the family all needs snow gear and winter gear and dress clothes for the holiday and every day clothes. 1 bag per person not so easy.

    • TacoDave says:

      @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: Ridiculous. I have three kids. That’s at least two checked bags and two car seats. At the very minimum.

      If you’re a single person, your advice is fine. For the rest of us, it’s impossible.

      • kathyl says:

        @TacoDave: Ah, thank goodness. I was just starting to wonder if I was the last person on the planet with a kid. I don’t think a nominal extra baggage fee is out of bounds as someone who would probably need to take extra stuff if I flew (but I avoid it) but raising the fees now just because they feel they can seems like it’s coming from somewhere beyond the pale.

  4. ckaught78 says:

    I have Premier status so I pay nothing for my first two bags, get group 1 boarding, and get to sit in Economy Plus for free. So I guess I really don’t care about the fee increase.

  5. IrvCrapper says:

    And what, was it $25.00 for all of 3 months?

    Fuck these airlines. I wouldn’t fly United if the seats were gilded. I’m so tired of hearing about United and American finding new ways to screw people hard in the ass that I just plain won’t fly with them. Nearly every domestic flight I take is with Southwest.

    • little stripes says:

      @IrvCrapper: I remember when Southwest used to be the joke airline, but they are one of the very few airlines that actually knows how to do business and treat their customers.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @IrvCrapper: Southwest is all well and good when you don’t want anything above what the airlines used to offer in Economy. But how about First?

      Solution: let the foreign airlines run some US routes.

  6. albear says:

    We need to go back to airline regulation so airlines don’t keep getting away with crap like this.

    Seriously, I was feeling sorry for them with oil skyrocketting, but now it’s dropping like a stone, it’s just pure greed.

    • azntg says:

      @albear: I want to say that too. We need regulation, the “free market” isn’t working out so well.

      But then again, with how our government is doing business nowadays, we’ll be lucky if the newly imposed regulations doesn’t legally sanction every single nasty thing that the airlines do nowadays to screw their customers.

  7. little stripes says:

    This is why I fly Southwest when I can.

    I flew … what was it, 3 years ago? Whenever that “almost terrorist attack” happened in England, the day that suddenly LIQUIDS ARE BAAAAD! I was in California, and was flying to Vegas that day, then back to my home state of Arizona two days later.

    Anyway, the airport was a mess and everyone was confused but Southwest was amazing. I was impressed. And my flight was only an hour and a half late.

  8. Geekybiker says:

    Well for all the people thinking that fuel dropping means immediate price relief- remember that airlines buy fuel gedges. Its why SWA was able to keep prices lower and not start charging for bags through the summer. However it goes both ways and many airlines saw skyrocketing and bought alot of fuel. Now fuel is far below what they paid and it’ll be awhile before they use up all the expensive fuel they bought earlier this year.

    As for the charges? $100 RT for a bag is a little excessive. I think its clear they are pushing the bounry to see how far they can take ala carte pricing before there is a strong market reaction. FWIW now that airlines have ala carte pricing its not going away. Not even if we get rock bottom fuel again.

    • BigBoat says:

      @Geekybiker: Depends. I want to see what happens when Orbitz or Kayak starts putting symbols or asterisks next to airlines that come up in searches, informing customers of the fees these airlines like to charge. We may see a shift after a push towards transparency.

      • Haltingpoint says:

        @BigBoat: I would LOVE to see this and I think it would contribute to getting airlines to just increase the fare price versus nickel and diming us to death with fees. They currently avoid this so they can show up listed as a cheap fair.

        If it were clearly identified, perhaps with easy-to-use filters to let you filter out airlines with certain fees, i’ll be the airlines would react pretty quickly in terms of how they price things.

    • SBR249 says:

      @Geekybiker: from what I understand of how that works, it still doesn’t make much sense. When the airlines hedged their future fuel contracts, they would’ve factored that cost into the first round of baggage increases or even during the time when they bought the fuel contracts back when oil prices were insane. There’s no reason to do a fee increase now of all times.

      • Geekybiker says:

        @SBR249: Agreed. Which is why I think its more to gauge exactly how much they can get away with. Airlines do this all the time with adding a charge here or there and seeing if competitors follow suit, seeing if it changes sales and them usually withdrawing it not long after.

  9. chiieddy says:

    So much for fuel prices = price dropping.

  10. Crabby Cakes says:

    You know what this does? It makes people take enormous carry-ons onto the plane. I flew United last month, (I KNOW, I KNOW!) and the overhead bins were full after the first boarding group. It took FOREVER to get on that plane with all the baggage that had to be checked at the gate. United=FAIL. And my bf just earned a free flight with them, so we’ll have to fly them again soon. :(

    • kathyl says:

      @Crabby Cakes: Yes, THIS. The one flight I had to take, just couldn’t avoid the trip and it was too far to drive, the circus around everyone desperately trying to get their enormous carry-ons (heck, even the appropriately-sized ones) on the plane was TERRIBLE. It was a Southwest flight and we were in the middle of the A boarding group going both directions, and our one smallish carry on bag (for three people) was the last bag to get in on one leg and among the last few to snag space on the other leg. It was insane.

      (And this was Southwest, an airline that doesn’t charge all those hideous fees! I can’t imagine the craziness that ensues when people are stepping over each other to try to save $50. I bet you it makes Black Friday sales look tame by comparison.)

  11. erratapage says:

    It has never occurred to me to take more than one bag on a trip. I just asked a coworker who told me that it is, in fact, fairly common for people to take more than one suitcase. I would rather that they waive the fee for the first checked bag and charge more for the second bag in order to encourage people to use checked luggage instead of ramming luggag into the overhead compartments.

    However, the last time an airline made a service change to make me more comfortable was… never?

  12. SBR249 says:

    Yes, for all those people who “pack only one bag” or such, that’s great. But there are circumstances where one can’t avoid packing more than one bag, such as when college students have to travel to and from school at the start/end of longer holidays. It’s really difficult to pack enough clothing for a month into a small carry on. For these people, the new fee increases are just dbag…

    • Geekybiker says:

      @SBR249: Or even when you go on a trip somewhere where you require special equipment like a ski trip, etc. Try fitting all your bulky ski clothes and a weeks worth of winter street clothes into a roll aboard. Doesn’t happen. Also most cruises are domestic flights. Its nearly impossible to fit into a single suitcase with the formal wear you are supposed to bring for the evening, plus beach clothes for the day trips.

  13. crichton007 says:

    I like how the price has gone up despite the fact that oil prices have dropped almost 50%. Weren’t the baggage fees supposed to help offset the rising cost of fuel?

  14. albear says:

    @Crabby Cakes:

    Yeah, I’ve also been there, the last time I flew (May on Continental) I saw a few people with carry on suitcases! WTH?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Frontier has the right idea. Eff 01Nov if you buy the cheapest ticket you will have to pay for baggage. If you buy the next level you will get 2 free bags plus free TV and if you pay the highest fare you get the above plus no change fee and refundability. The trouble with the majors is that some of their “discounted” fare are $800 and you still have to pay for bags.

  16. kepler11 says:

    Airlines don’t have to lower prices when their costs decrease.

    Airlines don’t care whether it’s a college student coming back for vacation, or a family of 3. A ticket is a ticket, and an extra bag is an extra bag.

    Your $50 bag fee goes to make my ticket more affordable, because I don’t have 3 bags to check.

    I say, charge away, United, as long as people will pay it.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @kepler11: What makes you think people will? Especially now. I know I’ll be going Amtrak for most trips and only fly if I really have to.

  17. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Great! Just to give everyone a heads up, Continental is about to implement a much smaller size limit for carry on rollers..expect all the other mainline’s to follow

  18. markblevis says:

    As one of the many features of a recent disastrous experience with United Airlines, I was charged $15 to check my bag on a flight that returned to the originating airport for an emergency landing just 20 minutes after take-off. A replacement flight departed 9 hours later but not before I was charged another $15 to check the same bag to the same destination on the same day.

  19. markblevis says:

    There is a great article by Christopher Penn about the economics of bag-checking and getting on and off a plane. Chris proposes that the airlines have it wrong and should be charging for carry-on bags, not checked bags.

    You can read his post at [www.christopherspenn.com]