United Airlines has yet again revised it’s baggage policy in a desperate attempt to attract business (and make their way off of Joe Public’s s&$t list for instituting the fees in the first place). For the holiday season, the airline is offering customers 20% off the fee for a first checked bag, between now and January 31, 2009 if you book on united.com. United has also rescinded its previously announced plans to increase the fee for a second bag on domestic flights from $25 to $50 one way. The fee to check a second bag on a domestic flight will remain $25 one way, which almost qualifies as a bargain these days.
Why all of the generosity? United is adding services to united.com’s repertoire. You can now do the following from the comfort of you own computer:
- Pay fees for checked baggage, which enables them to use special united.com bag drop areas at select airports. That’s where the 20% off comes in.
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- Purchase seating in Economy Plus, which starts at $14 one way, to add up to five extra inches of legroom. I guess it depends on the type of aircraft being used. You may want to look in to that before you drop an extra $28 round trip for 1 extra inch.
- Purchase Award Accelerator, which starts at $9, to earn travel awards faster by multiplying the number of Mileage Plus miles earned on United flights. So you can pay extra to earn miles that are close to impossible to use anyway.
“Now our customers may enjoy more convenience and better value when they check-in at united.com before their trip,” says Dennis Cary, chief marketing and customer officer. “We are listening to our customers, and these changes are designed to give them more choice and flexibility to customize their travel experience while keeping our prices competitive in a rapidly changing market environment.”
United also recently launched its new Door-to-Door Baggage service, allowing you to ship your bags overnight to domestic destinations.
As before, the fees to check a first or second bag do not apply to customers who are flying in United First or United Business, have Premier status or above with United or Star Alliance, or active duty military personnel traveling on orders.
The $15 first bag and $25 second bag fees do apply to customers who purchase a ticket for travel within the U.S. and to/from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The first check bag (weighing in at less than 50 pounds) is still free on international flights.