$25 to Check a Second Bag, United Tightens the Rules

Baggage, United

So, it now looks like most legacy carriers have adopted the $25 fee for checking a second bag. Though United originally carved out some high fare customers from paying the second fee, most other airlines did not. Of course, seeing an opportunity for a little more revenue, United has now followed them. For a link on the United homepage.

UPDATE – On April 4, 2008, United revised its domestic checked baggage fees to include customers traveling on refundable fares, government fares and Standard Award tickets in Economy class in the policy charging a service fee for checking a second bag. Customers who purchased these types of fares on or after February 4, 2008 and prior to April 4, 2008 for travel on or after May 5, 2008 may request a waiver of the second bag service fee upon check-in with a Customer Service Representative at the airport. Alternatively, those customers may request reimbursement from United’s refund department.

Now, I understand that people on refundable fares probably aren’t checking a bag too often, but then why bother to carve them out in the first place, especially if your convictions weren’t strong enough to actually keep them carved out?

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10 comments on “$25 to Check a Second Bag, United Tightens the Rules

  1. Looks like my million mile status which translates to Star Alliance Gold and Premier Exec will let me check 3 bags for now. Just waiting for THAT shoe to drop.

  2. Feels like they moved, saw what the market was doing, and decided that not charging the fee to high fare customers was going to cost them more revenue than it was going to gain them in customers.

    It’s a tough gig. Customers are going to hate any increase in anything other than service, and yet, they’re going to hate when the airline they booked on goes under for lack of revenue. Not that DC will let United go away, but still.

  3. My guess is that it wasn’t a revenue play but a simplicity play. I got angry with United for having so many carve outs in the initial policy, because it was going to make ticket counter agents’ lives hell. So this actually makes sense to me. I just think it’s poor for them to announce one thing and then go back on it.

  4. I agree with CF’s comments that it is a simplicity thing. I also agree that if the original decision to exclude these didn’t have much business justification, they should have just stuck with not excluding those in the first place.

  5. Hey Cranky,

    I was wondering if you could post the list of which airlines are now charging the fee for the second checked bag. When you say “most legacy carriers” are now charging the fee for a second checked bag, it got me nervous about my future flights on American, but I couldn’t find anything on their website informing me of a fee.

    Quite frankly, flying from the Caribbean to the States, I have always put my money where my mouth is and paid an extra $25-75 to avoid Spirit and all their hidden fees and fly American instead. In my biased opinion, it seems to me that if American has not and will not institute this policy in the future, it could really become a competitive advantage if they advertise/spin it right. Let the other airlines get another $25 while you get another passenger paying for the full seat!

  6. I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Artie. American is the only one to have not implemented the fee as of now, but it has applied to the Canadians to change its baggage policy. They apparently need 45 days notice. Nothing has happened yet, but I would be surprised if it didn’t.

  7. Crap. I guess I had wishful thinking that AA would do the right thing by its customers :) I should have known better.

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