United announced first checked bag fee of $15

Not surprisingly, UA followed AA in charging $15 for the first checked bag, for travel after August 18, 2008, and for tickets purchased after June 13, 2008. As before, this is only for domestic travel and many are excluded (including elites, of course). Nothing cracks me up more than how UA publishes this, with a full matrix. Isn’t it sad when something that used to be so simple is now a source of such confusion? Can’t they at least hit us with all the changes at once?

For UA’s sake I’m now hoping that they actually enforce their carry-on policy, since I’m betting we’ll see more and more people trying to carry-on a kitchen sink, which will get very messy. By UA enforcing their carry-on policy, they’ll not only be simplifying boarding, but also possibly earn more revenue as a result since people will have to check bags.

Now it’s just time to see who follows AA and UA. DL has essentially said they won’t, so at this point I doubt NW will either. I think it goes without saying that US will match (I bet it’ll happen within a week, and chances are they’ll start charging for soft drinks as well, IMO), which leaves CO. Not so sure about them, but I’m leaning towards “no,” at least for now.


  1. Consider the following situation: 4 passengers on the same PNR, one passenger is 3P the others have no status, booked June 10th, AC ticket/flight numbers, UA/UAX metal, Y-class, Tempo Plus fare, departure September 28th. How many bags can the following situation check for free, 5 or 8?

  2. This is a toughie. While UA says that companions are exempt from the first checked bag fee, I haven’t explicitly seen anything about companions for the second checked bag fee. Therefore I would assume five bags, but I’m not 100% sure.


  3. The Flying Critic is saying that the companion rule applies to both first and second checked bag, so I’d guess it’s eight then.

  4. Correct. United’s e-mail to elites today said it clearly:

    “All traveling companions on your reservation can each check two bags free of charge, up to 50 pounds (23 kg) per piece.”

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