Prepare To Pay $100 For Your Second Bag If You’re Hopping The Atlantic With United

Heading off to Europe and planning on packing every single possible outfit combination and pair of shoes own? If you’re flying United Airlines, your ensembles might need to be whittled down, as the company announced they’re upping the fee for a second checked bag on Trans-Atlantic flights from $70 to $100.

The move went into place on June 1, and is a somewhat confusing move as jet-fuel prices are finally falling, reports the Chicago Tribune. It’s also odd because of the skepticism around the European Union’s economic outlook.

United isn’t alone in this price-hiking — Delta Air Lines increased that same fee from $75 to $100 way back in January. Checking in online with Delta can save you money, however, with the fee in that case totaling $80.

United raised its fee a year ago from $50 to $70, which could be a sign that other airlines will also institute similar increases. Currently, American Airlines and US Airways have that second bag fee at $60 and $70, respectively.

Even scarier for passengers with a tight budget — these increases might indicate that there will eventually be a fee for a first checked bag. Which means even less perfect outfits for your Amazing European Vacation.

United hikes fee for 2nd international bag to $100 [Chicago Tribune]

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    So we can say with some certainty that when airlines say they need to raise rates and fees due to rising gasoline prices when they are actually falling; they are actually blowing smoke up our collective asses.

    • Bort says:

      smoke for profit…

      • voogru says:

        Maybe you should be looking at airline financials, they’re not exactly making any ‘profits’, especially if they’re going BANKRUPT like some.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      (Assuming they are actually not lying through their teeth)

      Jet fuel isn’t perfectly correlated with gasoline, but you also have to factor in the effect of hedges. If they had been predicting gas would continue to go up, their cost could in fact be going up.

      That said, I think this is more a sign that the “ticket price” is actually artificially low. All these fees should be baked into the price. And yet, part of me doesn’t mind – its not foisting the cost of things onto people who don’t use it. But I will admit its getting stupid ridiculous…

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Perhaps if it this complicated they can explain it in a commercial to us uncomplicated folks. As far as I know, when gasoline prices go up so do airfares, when gasoline prices go down the prices stay the same.

        • FatLynn says:

          Airfare actually went down in 2009 and 2010, when the recession was pushing gas prices downward.

          http://www.bts.gov/xml/atpi/src/indextop100.xml

          Pick a couple of random cities and take a look at the graph.

          • Blueskylaw says:

            So it actually took a worldwide recession to lower prices?
            This won’t work out well for us in a “recovering” economy.

            • bar_foo says:

              Of course not. Economics 101: economic growth -> increased demand -> higher prices (at least in the short term).

          • maxamus2 says:

            Did airfare, in TOTAL actually go down or did some ticket prices go down slightly while the “extras”, you know, like buying a ticket, having luggage, sitting next to your wife, etc… get added on but maybe wasn’t included in those air fares as those were “extras”? I’m curious to know.

  2. FatLynn says:

    I bet this will lead to all sorts of confusion on United flights operated by Lufthansa and vice-versa.

  3. Schildkrote says:

    “Heading off to Europe and planning on packing every single possible outfit combination and pair of shoes own?”

    Right in the headline. And she was doing so well, too.

  4. gman863 says:

    They’re making money while they can.

    It’s just a matter of time until Southwest strikes an alliance deal with Virgin or another transalantic airline, giving United and Delta a fare beatdown.

    • FatLynn says:

      Southwest is trying to start service to Latin America out of Dallas as we speak.

      • gman863 says:

        Southwest will also be starting service to Latin America from Houston Hobby in about three years. Over United’s howling and threat of job cuts at the big airport, the City Council approved building an International terminal and customs center at Hobby.

        Southwest is paying most (if not all) of the construction costs. United has already responded by threatening immediate layoffs, even though SWA’s international service is three years away.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Chuckle. You think Virgin wants their brand associated with Southwest?

      • Coffee says:

        Southwest is one of the most well-respected airlines out there. Yeah, it fits into a certain niche, but no other airline does what they do better than they do it.

        • NeverLetMeDown says:

          MegaBus is a pretty well regarded bus service. Doesn’t mean that BMW wants to cobrand with them.

          • Coffee says:

            You know who owns Rolls-Royce? Volkswagen…kind of thing happens.

            • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

              Point goes to Coffee.

            • NeverLetMeDown says:

              Yup, they do (although the cars are actually built by BMW – it’s a bizarre licensing arrangement). Know how many Rolls-Royce ads mention that little tidbit? Zero. For an alliance to work (codesharing, etc), the combination would have to be featured and marketed prominently. It’d be like Rolls saying “as an extra feature, you can now bring your Rolls-Royce to a VW dealer for service.”

  5. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Why yes, my unemployment check is going straight to my European vacation. I plan on wearing my diamonds, dahling. :P

    By the time I can afford to fly domestic again, let alone overseas, maybe this will be all worked out.

  6. ZenListener says:

    I say bring back the air ships. Travel in steam punk style.

  7. tyg says:

    Who needs a carryon bag, a personal item, *and* 2 (or more) suitcases per person when they travel? If you need to bring that much crap with you on vacation then you deserve to pay an arm and a leg for it. I have yet to check a suitcase when I travel internationally, and I am always amazed when I see people at the airport with their luggage carts full of suitcases.

    • who? says:

      When you see someone at the airport with a mountain of bags and get all judgemental, think for just a second that you might not actually know anything about their personal circumstances. Are they traveling with a baby and a bunch of baby gear? Medical equipment? Presents for 25 family members? Are they staying for 3 months? Moving permanently?

      I like to travel light. The last time I went to Europe, I managed to travel for 2 weeks in the middle of winter with a single carry on. But when I went to China, I had food, camping gear, and presents, and it was a stretch to get it into a single checked bag. China Air charges by the kilo for overage, so going over wouldn’t have been so punitive, but still, I was sweating ounces to keep it under the 55 pound limit.

      • Portlandia says:

        HA, I did a month in Europe one Summer with nothing boat a rolling carry-on and a small personal bag with my electronics and stuff.

        I had to do laundry a couple times but it was wonderful having so little to carry with me.

        I’ve learned though, I remember my first trip to italy 20+ years ago and I had one of those GIANT suitcases and small carryon for the plane and a second carryon. I was going for the summer (2.5 months) What a fool I was. Why did I think I would need 5-6 pairs of shoes? Not to mention all the crap I brought back. That bag was freaking HEAVY.

        • who? says:

          I know. It was a pain to have all that gear, but we were in places where it was less painful to carry all that sh*t than it would have been to go without it. Anyway, labor is cheap enough there that we were able to hire porters to carry all the crap around.

          • Portlandia says:

            I understand, on my trip to Spain a couple years ago I flew a budget airline within europe and they’re EXTREMELY picky about overweight luggage. A single ounce could equal about 80 – 100 dollars in baggage fees. I ended up throwing away a pair of shoes and a book because I didn’t want to pay extra to schlep them home.

    • bar_foo says:

      They might be moving overseas for a year or more (as I have done, to study abroad, for example), and bringing four seasons’ worth of clothes, including formal work attire and hiking gear. Not everyone traveling is going on vacation.

    • Geekybiker says:

      If you’re going for more than a week and visiting locations that vary in climate and/or need to bring formal wear with you for vacation you might need two suitcases. My carry on is usually camera and/or photo gear so no room for clothes. I’ve brought two suitcase before, but normally that’s when I’m bringing my scuba gear with me. My BCD, reg, fins, wetsuit, etc take up a whole bag.

  8. Kaonashi says:

    I wonder what the cost of shipping a bag to a major city in Europe is. Assuming you’re flying into a capital or another major city it might actually be cheaper to just ship it. I know that for inside of the US it is in certain cases.

  9. AldisCabango says:

    It doesn’t matter. People will complain about the new fees and still choose to fly no matter what the fees are. T

  10. aerodawg says:

    ” It’s also odd because of the skepticism around the European Union’s economic outlook.

    Perhaps they’re expecting it to get cheaper to stay in places like Greece and Italy spurring traffic from our side?

  11. sweaterhogans says:

    Has anyone else noticed that reasonably priced and timed flights are almost impossible to get? It seems like now every single flight must route to one of 5 major hubs so that they can pack in the flight. They then go on and on about how there’s no room for carryon bags and pressure you to check them in.

    When I look up flights now you can go from the East Coast to Europe in just 24 hours!! When I was a kid, you could get there in 7. I even saw one from the West Coast to Thailand in 45 hours, but from a major east coast hub like JFK it would take you the normal 19h. “They” are really making it hard to fly. Who has an extra 48 hours and several thousand dollars to spend on flying?

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      “Has anyone else noticed that reasonably priced and timed flights are almost impossible to get? It seems like now every single flight must route to one of 5 major hubs so that they can pack in the flight. They then go on and on about how there’s no room for carryon bags and pressure you to check them in.

      When I look up flights now you can go from the East Coast to Europe in just 24 hours!! When I was a kid, you could get there in 7. I even saw one from the West Coast to Thailand in 45 hours, but from a major east coast hub like JFK it would take you the normal 19h. “They” are really making it hard to fly. Who has an extra 48 hours and several thousand dollars to spend on flying?”

      You need to find either a travel agent, or a better website. I haven’t had any trouble finding conveniently timed flights (I fly ~125 segments a year). Prices are up a bit from a year ago, but they generally still look pretty reasonable.

      • sweaterhogans says:

        There must be some secret websites I’ve never heard of then. I check all the major ones (expedia, kayak, travelocity, priceline, hipmunk, the carrier’s site…). Go ahead and search for Philly to Venice, or Portland to Bangkok, for example. If you want the cheapest fare with shortest flight time, you have to fly United. In many instances the flight will fly the opposite direction to one of 5 major hubs (JFK, Dallas, Chicago, LAX, or SFO) and then after several hours fly to the actual destination. If you want a decent airline, like British Airways you will have a 15 hour lay over. More and more, I am seeing overnight lay overs.

        You’re probably lucky enough to live near a major hub or only fly to major hubs.

    • sweaterhogans says:

      I should also mention that flight times being padded has been documented for several years now. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703575004575043143789789222.html

      There’s no way it’s gotten better since then.