United Flyers Saddled with More Baggage Fees

United Airlines planePrepare to pay more for that extra tote the next time you travel.

For United Airlines, new bag-sizing boxes at many airports has many passengers cringing as they approach security.

The airline has now enforced limits on the size of carry-on bags in an effort to crack down on passengers toting massive suitcases.

Passengers whose bags are too large must bring them to the ticket counter and shell out $25 for each piece of checked luggage.

Checkpoint bag sizers are nothing in airports, but United’s enforcement is frustrating passengers.

The Star Tribune reports that United earns $638 million in checked-bag fees yearly, and hopes to raise revenue through tactics like this.

This prompts the question if this measure’s introduction is more to consider passenger comfort on cramped planes – or to generate more income to United Airlines, already reaping revenue through additional fees.

The latter option appears more relevant.

Frustrated passengers have hit social media to air their rants.

Tweet about United Airlines

ABC News shows the kiosks that indicate to passengers if their bags can fit in the allotted size requirements.

As the video suggests, a United Airlines statement indicated that this is being implemented to remind “customers of the regulatory limits on the size and number of bags they can bring on board.”

Consumerist writes that United Airlines hopes to expedite the boarding process, but one must wonder if that is a simple excuse for this more-enforced procedure.

The Points Guy blog offers suggestions on how to cope with this enforcement.

Passengers are paying for features and once-expected perks of travel, making the idea of flying more of a hassle than a leisurely experience.

Remember the days of everyone dining for free or having the same amount of legroom at no extra charge?

Those times are distant memories.

This example by United Airlines suggests that not only are airlines out of touch with passenger needs and comforts, but also solely focused on making money in this struggling economy.

Even if that means alienating the only customers you possess.

Yes, airlines must adapt to keep high passenger approval ratings and its finances balanced, but other options should be considered before messing with check-on bags, which we have all taken for granted – until now.

How about fining passengers who fail to follow the “turn-off-your-electronics” guideline?

Now that would charge up passengers’ frustration levels to new altitudes.

Will the checked-bag measure change your mind on flying United the next time you take to the skies? Share your thoughts.

– Brett Nachman

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4 Responses to United Flyers Saddled with More Baggage Fees

  1. Emily Wininger says:

    Unfortunately, it is not just United Airlines that is starting to crack down on check-on baggage, Frontier Airlines also checks every single check-on bag. When guests check-in at Frontier, the check-in attendant will mark the bags if they appear to be too large to “fit” the standards set by the airline. These standards are questionable, however. When I traveled Frontier over Spring Break, they almost made me pay for a backpack because it was full of my thesis materials.

    I think that airlines should have a better system for dealing with check-on baggage (especially with flights constantly delayed), but I do not think charging people is the right way to do so. Many people bring check-on baggage to avoid the large baggage fees that come with checking bags before the gate. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if people stop flying altogether or fly other airlines that offer free bags such as Southwest Airlines.

    Airline companies should be concerned with making a profit, but they should be more concerned with accommodating their clients. Ten years ago, I used to enjoy flying because the baggage rates were not so high and companies actually treated their customers well. Now, I only fly because it is a necessity.

    • Brett Nachman says:

      Absolutely, Emily. You point out the problems with the systematic lack of consistency in this industry in how they approach check-on baggage. The airlines are constantly reformatting rules and restrictions to determine what will enhance efficiency and the ultimate bottom line: money. Unfortunately, some airlines have more of an opportunity to take advantage of the situation because there is no other method of transportation that proves faster and most valuable from a time-cost perspective.

  2. Meenah Rincon says:

    Love this article Brett. As someone who likes to travel, the hassle of flying is very unappealing. Lost are the days where you could check in your bag at no cost and ticket prices were reasonable. Now it makes more sense to take your own car on a trip or rent one. The price, in my opinion, including gas and car rental is much more reasonable than the price of a flight. I think now we are just paying for the convenience of not having to spend hours on the road.

    I think airlines have gotten away from customer service and making flying a pleasurable and affordable experience. I think the public relations department within airline companies need to seriously consider their audience and find ways to appeal to consumers again. Raising ticket prices and charging extra for bags without any payback is asking for backlash from frequent flyers.

    Restrictions on the size of your carry-on luggage has always existed, just not enforcement. Just like the aforementioned changes, it’s the price you pay when you fly.

    • Brett Nachman says:

      Yes, Meenah. We must weigh the pros and cons of driving versus flying, especially if the travel experience is relatively low from a time standpoint. Airlines are lacking in strong PR, namely because I think there are so many problems and issues that erupt in this industry. Passenger happiness often is more of a “coach” priority compared to “first-class” issues, including the safety and financial reputation of the airlines. I enjoy air travel, but much of the appeal has been lost in recent years with these increasingly-frustrating restrictions.

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