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United raises fee for 2nd checked bag

The airline is now charging $100 for the second checked bag on trans-Atlantic flights. The first bag remains free -- for now.

By Karen Datko Jun 13, 2012 7:11PM

Image: Man pulling suitcase in airport © Keith Brofsky/UpperCut Images/Getty ImagesFlying across the pond on United Airlines? Pack light, because United has raised the fee for a second checked bag to $100 each way on many international flights.

 

Affecting flights to Europe, Africa, India and the Middle East, the higher fee, a $30 increase, is enough to generate an additional $30 million for the airline, the Chicago Tribune reports.

 

For now, you can avoid that fee by limiting yourself to one checked bag, which is free on trans-Atlantic flights. But analyst Hunter Keay told the Trib that a charge for checking that first bag could be next.


Shopping for another airline may not help. Delta raised its second-checked-bag fee to $100 early this year (online check-in is discounted to $80) on international flights, and there's reason to believe that American and US Airways will match their competitors' higher prices. (Post continues below.)

"Unfortunately, airlines tend to follow a lead even when it may not be on their own list for change," Randy Petersen, founder of Milepoint.com told Josh Sanburn at Time magazine. "Bottom line, this 'fee for all' will most likely affect all other airlines."

 

United's fee for a second checked trans-Atlantic bag was $70 for tickets purchased before June 1 and was $50 a year ago. It remains $70 for flights to Asia and most South American destinations and is still free for trips to Japan.

 

Are we doomed to paying these fees? Is there no end in sight? "The bags will eventually cost more than the seat," commented one reader of Smarter Travel.

There are ways to avoid them:
  • You don't have to pay if you have elite status or are flying first or business class. But that doesn't help most vacationers.
  • You could become a light-packing specialist -- no more than three outfits, including the one you're wearing on the plane; the shoes on your feet and maybe some flip-flops; a little detergent and a short clothesline. All can easily fit into a carry-on backpack. You'll be doing hand wash during your trip, but you can forget about checking a bag.

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1Comment
Jun 13, 2012 9:55PM
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All of the airline need there head examined and the ones that think up this stupidity should be put in prison. I will drive a vehicle anywhere I need to go in the USA as flying is not ever been in my future. I refuse to play the baggage game. Amtrac works real well and so does Greyhound. So the airlines can kiss where the sun does not shine. 
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