United Airlines (UAL) recently announced that it will be charging customers twenty-five dollars for their second checked bag. They will start this beginning on 5 may 2008. Right now you can check two bags, each weighing fifty pounds for free.
Anything more and you have to pay extra depending on the weight. You are also allowed one, maybe two, carry-on bags. This also depends on the size, weight, and airline. This additional tariff will not affect Mileage Plus or Star Alliance customers. And, from what I have read, this only affects domestic flights.
I have not read anything about overseas flights. Supposedly, this will discourage passengers from bringing an additional bag, making the plane lighter. Therefore, the plane will burn less fuel saving the airlines money and keeping fares from rising. As a frequent traveler, I can personally say that I will do my very best to avoid flying on United. If I do have to fly UAL, I will scream, kick and bite before I pay an extra twenty-five dollars for a bag.
I think if all travelers shout loud enough, the airline will be forced to stop this silliness. Then, they would be forced to raise air fares, which would hopefully make you look for another airline. First, the airlines took away your in-flight meal. Now, we have the additional luggage tax. What is next? Some may say that getting rid of the airline food is a good thing. But charging five bucks for a measly snack is ridiculous.
I work for the US government and we are required to fly on American carriers. I understand the rule and the reasoning behind it, but most of my flights are to Asia and Asian carriers have far better service, prices and schedules than American carriers. So, if I am forced to fly American and get stuck on United, I will do everything in my power to switch to one of the other carriers that doesn't charge this ridiculous fee. We need to band together and refuse to pay this fee. Otherwise, the airlines will start charging for pillows, blankets, aisle seats, window seats, and who knows what else. If you have a choice between United and any other airline, please choose the other carrier.
Larry Westfall is a frequent traveler to Thailand visiting 2 to 3 times per year and saves time and money booking through Hotel in Pattaya
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