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Mark Kahler

United: Pay Your Baggage Fees in Advance

By October 5, 2009

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They're calling it Premier Baggage from United. The idea is that you pay one flat fee -- and the "introductory price" is $249 -- for the privilege of checking up to two bags on every flight for a year. "Forget about first and second bag fees," proclaims today's announcement. "With Premier Baggage, you and up to eight companions traveling under the same confirmation number can check up to two standard bags each without fees, where applicable, every time you travel within the United States or internationally" on United or United Express flights.

Understand that Premier Baggage does not exempt you from paying oversize or overweight fees on those exempted bags. It simply means that a passenger's checked baggage count won't start costing money until bag No. 3 at check-in. United's current rate matches many other baggage fees for major airlines ($20 for the first checked bag and $30 for the second when paid at the airport), so a single traveler would reach the break-even point on this introductory fee after five flights in a year with two checked bags in tow for each trip. But people traveling in a large group under the same reservation could save money pretty quickly.

Still, isn't it nice how United makes something that was free just a few years ago seem like a bargain at $249? You'll be happy to know that same introductory price applies if you want to give "a deserving traveler a full year free of first and second bag fees with a Premier Baggage gift subscription." Interested holiday shoppers beware: the airline's announcement does not say how long the special introductory price will be available.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Comments
October 9, 2009 at 10:55 am
(1) Gayle says:

I will NOT pay for something that should still be free! You are right to say that United is trying to make it sound like a sweet deal when in reality it is not!

I recently traveled to a couple of states for two weeks, even attending a banquet for which I had to take a dressy outfit, but I used only my carry on! I find it an interesting and fun challenge to use only what I can carry with me free…….because it irks me so much to have to PAY for baggage….

October 9, 2009 at 11:16 am
(2) Henry I says:

What a poor decision, what’s next? Bathroom usuage fee?
Well, United that is why we have “Free Enterprise” in the U.S. I’ll drop you and start using Southwest (Domestically) and American Hawaii and Internationally), for often.

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