Next Up: Now United Airlines Increases Checked Baggage Fees

United Airlines has now raised the fee for checking in baggage on its short-haul services. The five-dollar increase will be put into place from March 6th and follows a similar decision made by fellow US-based carrier JetBlue.

United Boeing 737-900(ER)
United is making a change with its baggage policy. Photo: United Airlines

What will change?

USA Today reports that the change will take place domestically and primarily on short-distance flights to the Caribbean and Latin America. The price of the first checked bag will rise to $35 each way. Meanwhile, each additional bag will cost $45 to have checked in.

However, for United passengers that pay in advance, the charge will remain at $30 and $40 respectively. This prepayment can be made anytime before online check-in is complete. Therefore, there will be an extra incentive for customers to plan what to bring on their flight beforehand, to avoid paying extra for the journey.

Furthermore, any passenger who booked their flight before February 21st will be exempt from the new charges. Any fliers with tickets purchased before this date will continue to pay the previous fee.

It is always best to double-check what the baggage policy of each airline is before you fly. Photo: pixabay

Industry motives

Just last month, JetBlue also increased its checked-bag fees from $30 to $35. The New-York based airline also allows its customers to avoid the increase by paying online in advance. With United now following its counterpart’s move, other major US operators are also likely to join in.

In August 2018, JetBlue had raised its charge from $25 to $30. This hike made it more expensive than United, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines at the time. However, it didn’t take long for all three of these companies to match JetBlue with the prices.

Major airlines are continuing to go in the direction of varying their fees when it comes to baggage. This practice is a standard for low-cost carriers and no-frills firms such as Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit. However, the big players are now increasingly going with this approach.

jetBlue seems to be the trendsetter when it comes to bag-related fees. Photo: Getty Images

Southwest Airlines remains the only major US carrier not to charge for checking in baggage. In fact, it allows passengers to put two bags smaller than 62 inches (L+W+H) and less than 50 lbs in the hold without any fee.

Check before check-in

Altogether, this increase by United may not impact many customers as they can pay the same rate as they did previously but only if they make sure to do so beforehand.

However, there will still be some passengers that won’t be planning to travel with as many bags as they initially expected to. Nonetheless, a little bit of extra packing-preparation could save some dollars for several passengers on their next trip.

Simple Flying reached out to United for comment on the revised prices. A United spokesperson confirmed the changes and added that MileagePlus Premier customers and those who purchase tickets with an eligible MileagePlus credit card will continue to receive complimentary checked luggage.

What are your thoughts on airlines increasing their fees for checking in baggage not paid for in advance? Let us know what you think of this approach in the comment section.