Travelers should prepare for even more baggage fees if they fly with United Airlines. United Airlines just announced that it’s increasing fees for checked bags. How much more can travelers expect to pay when checking bags with United? The first bag will cost up to $30. It will then cost up to $40 if you want to check a second bag.
The new fee update applies on most of the flights United offers in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The fee increase is effective immediately. However, only travelers who purchased tickets after Aug. 31 will be responsible for paying the higher rates. Here are the destinations that will now require higher bag fees:
- The United States
- Puerto Rico
- The U.S. Virgin Islands
- Costa Rica
United hasn’t raised bag fees in the markets that are seeing the increases in about eight years. The airline is justifying the increases by saying that they will be used to invest in upgrades that will enhance customer experiences when flying with United. However, that may not be enough to stop customers from griping over the higher fees.
A trend may be sparking that will see more carriers in the United States increasing baggage fees. JetBlue Airways announced in August that it would be raising the fee for a first checked bag to $30. United is the first of the country’s three big carriers to raise bag fees to match JetBlue’s fees. The move could encourage Delta Air Lines and American Airlines to do the same. However, fee increases seem to come without warning. That is due largely to the fact that federal competition laws actually ban airlines from discussing future price changes. That means that passengers won’t know that fees have increased until fees have actually increased. Carriers in Canada also raised baggage fees this summer. Customers of both Air Canada and WestJet will now have to pay more when they check their bags.
Just how likely is it that more fees will be coming for airline passengers? Airlines are facing a tough fall ahead. That’s because rising oil prices are threatening to cut into revenues. Airlines managed to get through the summer without raising rates in response to rising fuel costs. However, it is unlikely that they can keep that trend going for much longer now that the busy summer travel season is over. Oil is currently trading at around $70 per barrel. That price is about $20 higher than it was just a year ago. Increasing bag fees is seen as an alternative to raising ticket prices.