For the second time in 18 months, United has raised the its checked bag fees. Effective for all flights after March 6th and for all tickets purchased after February 21st, the checked bag fee will increase by $5.00 for all flights in the U.S. and short-haul flights to the Caribbean and South America. The first checked bag will cost $35 each way while the second checked bag will cost $45 each way.
To avoid this price increase, passengers can prepay for their checked bags online at any time, prior to checking in online for their flight. Once they have checked in online or at an airport counter, the price will reflect the new higher pricing. Passengers with the United MileagePlus credit card or MileagePlus Premier customers will still enjoy free checked baggage.
At the same time, United has removed all of its carry-on baggage sizers at the gates. Flight attendants have been told to 'use their best judgment' when it comes to determining the 'ok' size for carry-on luggage that travelers are allowed to bring on board. This change is sure to cause some confusion as more people try to bring carry-on luggage instead of paying the raised checked bag fee.
The price increase comes shortly after JetBlue raised its checked baggage prices. It is anticipated that the other legacy airlines will follow with a price increase very soon, too.
The airline has not stated why the increase was issued at this time. However, many industry experts believe that the airline industry is trying to cover many of the losses that they have been experiencing recently. These losses are a result of the decline in flights to China and Hong Kong due to the coronavirus outbreak.