United Airlines to charge fee to check single bag
Carrier follows lead of American; fees will generate $275 million a year
updated 10:29 a.m. CT, Thurs., June. 12, 2008
CHICAGO - UAL Corp’s United Airlines on Thursday became the latest airline to begin charging $15 to check a single bag on domestic flights, matching the controversial fee launched in May by AMR Corp’s American Airlines as the industry struggles to offset soaring fuel prices.
The parent of the No. 2 U.S. airline also said it raised the fee it charges to check three or more bags, overweight bags or items that require special handling to $125 from $100, or to $250 from $200, depending on the item.
The changes apply to customers who purchase a ticket on or after June 13 for travel within the United States and to or from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on or after August 18. The $15 fee does not apply to some customers who are members of United’s loyalty programs.
United’s single-bag fee is the second such fee launched by a major airline. The airline was the first legacy carrier to implement a $25 fee to check a second bag.
The new fees are part of a broader effort by airlines to charge passengers for services that used to be included in the price of a ticket. Some carriers charge for in-flight perks such as meals, drinks and snacks.
“With record-breaking fuel prices, we must pursue new revenue opportunities, while continuing to offer competitive fares, by tailoring our products and services around what our customers value most and are willing to pay for,” John Tague, UAL’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.
United said fees for checking the first and second bags would generate revenue of about $275 million a year.
American Airlines was sharply criticized for its single-bag fee by passengers who consider the charge excessive.
Copyright 2008 Reuters.