United's luggage fees: a mixed bag

photo by kpishdadi

United Airlines recently announced that, "as part of its continuing effort to offer customers choice, flexibility, and low fares," it will start charging passengers who purchase nonrefundable economy tickets for US/Canada flights $25 to check a second bag (the first one is still free). Exempt from the fee are passengers who have Premier or higher status in Mileage Plus/Star Alliance will be able to go by the old rules of checking two bags for free.

This is certainly an interesting move by United - it's the first legacy carrier to introduce such a fee (discount airlines like Skybus have already made baggage fees an integral part of their business plans). Other legacies are no doubt paying careful attention to United's move here - if it works (i.e., passengers don't desert the airline), then it's probable that they'll follow suit and also charge more for bags. After all, by some estimates, United's move could make more than $100 million per year in extra revenue and cost savings - not an insignificant chunk of change.

So is United's move here good or bad? A bit of both, perhaps - a mixed bag (ha). They are running the very real risk of alienating some of its passengers, but this risk might diminish if the other legacies follow suit. And United might be able to convince some passengers that by not charging for bags that you're not going to check, they're passing the savings onto you...

10 comments:

jdvm said...

I know high fuel costs are the driver here, but I think the airlines are not focusing on the increasing desire of both business and leisure travelleres to have MORE of their personal stuff with them when they are away from home--not less. More and more, people want the comfort and convenience of having their personal items with them on the road.

This move is going to annoy people and force them to ship their stuff or store it at the final destination if it's a place they frequently visit.

jdvm
www.ownerslocker.com

Anonymous said...

YAHHHHH! trick YAHHHHH!

Kara said...

This new policy has really impacted passengers with disabilities. I've contacted United and hope they respond about this probably overlooked effect...I wrote a little more about it on my blog if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

If the other carriers don't follow suit, I expect that they will be carrying far fewer skiers and others who travel with sports equipment. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Wheeler said...

Preparing for holidays..... bought a pack flat back-up bag from Magellans.....

JamesDean50 said...

Like we don't see enough folks carrying luggage on to the plane. Now more folks will check one piece in and carry on the other one. Why don't they charge people for the convenience of carrying luggage onto the plane? This would save them more time as people would get on with less stuff and we'd get to our destinations on time.

Anonymous said...

If you want to fly with a sense of security, avoid United. When a passenger points out security breaches they are victimized. United hides a security breach rather than looking into it.

I would suggest you avoid United if you want to fly securely.

Anonymous said...

The previous comment was posted by Jerome Hauer
Former Assistant Secretary and
Director of Emergency management-City of NY who was victimized by United and the fools they call air marshals AKA-The Keystone Cops

Charles Goodwin said...

Great information!
http://www.CompareAirlineFees.com is a great site to compare 25 different extra airline fees and flight prices from top sites at the same time.

Anonymous said...

^^Thanks!!

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