United Airlines Will Now Send You Back To Check Your Oversized Carry-On At The Ticket Counter

This thing rules you now.

This thing rules you now.

We all see you trying to shove that ginormous rolling suitcase you call a “carry-on” into the overhead bin, and apparently United Airlines has noticed, too. The airline says that while it’s not changing its carry-on size policy, it’s issuing a gentle reminder that oversized bags will cost you extra, by way of a trip back to the ticket counter to check that sucker for $25.

The airline emailed its frequent fliers a reminder of its rules regarding carry-on size, telling the Associated Press too that there’s no change, per se, it’s just embarking on a campaign to increase passenger awareness.

As if that guy’s bag donking you on the head as he struggles to heave it upward didn’t make you aware enough.

Anyway — as of Saturday, United employees are sending passengers who have oversized bags — as measured by those sizing bins — back to the ticket counter to pay the $25 fee to check the bag, instead of letting them check at the gate and waiving that fee.

Many airlines have been pretty lax in enforcing similar rules, so it’ll be interesting if they move to do the same thing or just keep letting people gate check.

While some passengers are grumbling that this is just another way to collect money, United says it just wants to speed up the boarding process. It’s also adding new bag sizers before security checkpoints as a last chance to check yourself before you wreck yourself with a trip back through security when your bag is too big.

This is why I only travel with a purse full of beef jerky and a rainproof poncho. Can’t be tied down to those bulky, unwieldy bags but gotta be ready for anything.

Follow MBQ on Twitter if you don’t mind that she’s better at reminding people to follow her than to tweet sometimes: @marybethquirk


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  1. CommonC3nts says:

    You left out that they are checking bag sizes at security only.
    If you get caught entering security with a large back they will send you back to the counter to pay $25.
    If you get through security with the bag you can still gate check for free.

    This is a good thing. People are crazy with the oversized bags they use.
    I purposely got a bag that was a 1/2 inch under in each direction so it will fit in any of their bag check fixtures.

  2. SingleMaltGeek says:

    Now I actually have a reason to prefer United.

    That is, assuming SouthWest, JetBlue, and VirginAmerica don’t fly there.

  3. RupturedDuck says:

    Every bag you attempt to carryon must go through the TSA X-ray. Seems to me TSA should simply adjust the X-ray machine entrance. If you bag cannot enter the X-ray machine you should be required to return to the ticket counter, and check the bag for a fee, plus an extra five bucks for inconveniencing everyone.

    • SingleMaltGeek says:

      That’s not a bad idea…except I think some of the airlines vary their size requirements by an inch or two, depending on the planes they use and the size of the overhead bins.

    • CommonC3nts says:

      There are things that are allowed to be gate checked that must go through the x-rays.

  4. CzarChasm says:

    While they will probably also make more money, it’s probably also a needed change. I have seen people boarding who have bags who are no where near the acceptable size limits.

  5. econobikerredux says:

    Absolutely about time an airline did this. Have seen people deliberately bringing over sized bags in order to gate check the bags.

    However, United, as an airline selling tickets to the public and purporting to transport them, still sux in my book for underwhelming and garbage customer service…

    Reference: untied . com for United’s track record of crap service.