United reduces first and business class baggage allowance for tickets purchased after February 14, 2013

My friend Chris passed along the following memo regarding a change in United’s checked baggage policy:

Complimentary Checked Baggage Allowance Change in Premium Cabin

United is modifying its premium cabin complimentary checked baggage allowance for tickets purchased on or after February 14, 2013 for travel beginning February 14, 2013 and beyond.

  • United Global First and United First baggage allowance changes from three bags to two bags for domestic travel.
  • United BusinessFirst and United Business baggage allowance changes from three bags to two bags for domestic and international travel.

Other United baggage service charges including MileagePlus® Premier entitlements and weight allowances are not impacted. Premier Gold level and above will continue to receive three complimentary bags in these cabins.

This change better aligns United’s checked baggage allowance tiers with those of partner carriers and competitors, and helps balance the cost of this valuable service with the complex infrastructure required to support it.

Prior to this change all domestic and international first and business class passengers were entitled to three checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each. Now domestic first and business class passengers as well as international business class passengers will only be entitled to two checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each.

As a point of comparison Delta allows domestic first and business class passengers three checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each, while they allow international business class passengers (with the exception of those traveling to Brazil) two checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each. Meanwhile American allows all first and business class passengers (both international and domestic) three checked bags weighing up to 50 pounds each.

So it’s sad to see United make this change since they went from having the most generous premium cabin checked bag policy among US airlines to arguably the least generous, or at least less generous than Delta and possibly less generous than American (depending on whether you value the three piece limit or 70 pound limit more).

Filed Under: United
  1. I found out about this change on FT and am extremely disappointed about this SUDDEN implementation. No opportunity to transition, just another direct hit to customers.

  2. I’ve been curious about employee and pass riders. My dad is retired and rarely carries more than a carry on but I see some NRSA’s going in with a lot of bags. wonder if this changes non rev bag policies too

  3. United will still interline bags with separate tickets. So I’d say they’re still more generous than Delta.

  4. AA gives 3x 70lbs on international business and first to Japan and England I believe. At least that was my experience last year in September and October.

  5. If you go to United’s website to the checked baggage page, it shows $0 for a third checked bag for first and business to international cities. Domestic is $100 for a third checked bag.

  6. Is this actually “sad to see United make this change” or is it totally irrelevant, because who the hell needs to check three 70lb bags?

  7. Lol Andrew, thats what I was thinking. You’d be amazed though at what those lil old ladies haul back from the homeland in Asia. Does *G also still get 3 bags?

  8. US still gives three bags on International…. the ‘old’ US that is. Don’t know if it will hold or not. If AA still does…..

  9. thats not too bad I suppose…considering we only need one additional luggage to pack the purses my wife buys in Petaling Street.

  10. When I was moving back from college, my Star Gold status saved me when I booked all my parents on my reservation and was able to move everything back without a single bag fee.

  11. @Gary: Delta backed down on the separate tickets thing. There’s no reference to it anywhere on their website any more, and in late December they issued a statement saying that they were suspending the implementation that had been planned for mid-January.

  12. @Andrew

    My thoughts exactly. Even when my wife and I go trekking across the world, we take no more than we can semi-comfortably carry without assistance. That’s never more than two bags each.

  13. @nick
    The day UA is up to LX or any of d asían carriers standards in lounge, service, attention to detail then they should align their baggage allowance; meanwhile exit row and 3*70 lbs are d two best perks I get from UA plat

  14. I’m glad that they’re still providing three bags to elites. That seems like good recognition of their loyalty. I’m not as certain that first class domestic passengers also needed three bags. (1) People who buy a first class ticket can probably afford a third bag fee if they need it, and (2) I think very few people will need a third bag on a domestic flight.

  15. People doing long distance moves need more baggage than others. When my brother moved across the country for college, back in the days when 2 50 pound bags were standard for even domestic flights, we moved all his stuff between him, my mom and me in our checked baggage. Not enough stuff to justify shipping it but too much for a carry-on or one checked bag.
    I had planned to do an international move to join a boyfriend in Europe and probably would have gotten by with several checked bags on an award biz class ticket. No need to bring furniture or household items but I’d need more than would fit in a bag or two.

    So yea, most people most of the time don’t need 3 70 pound bags and most of the time they won’t bring that much. So why reduce the benefit for the occasional person who finds value in it?

  16. It still seems a pretty massive allowance, I’d be lucky to pass the 50lb mark on my single bag that I check! Also presumably they’ll still also allow the insanely large amount of carry-on luggage? (I’m from Europe and most of the ‘carry-on’ luggage I saw on my last United flight would have been hold luggage for us :D)

  17. To all the MORONS saying “nobody needs that many bags”, have you though that you don’t really know everything? And that not everybody does what you do? A lot of people take a lot of bags for diferent reasons (shopping being one of them). Try to open the mind you don’t have…

  18. John, I am with you all the way. I need to travel a lot. Sometimes I need only a moderate amount of luggage, but sometimes I need a lot. It all depends how long I have to be out of the country.

  19. I have two daughters. Each weighs under 70lbs. Between them and my wife we wound up with 3x70lb bags on our trip to Hawaii. My stuff fit in a carry on. New rule… Everybody carries their own bag, Daddy’s not a mule.

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