Travel News

United Airlines Hikes Baggage Fees – Pushes Travelers Toward Southwest Even More

United miles
Written by Charlie

United Airlines just hiked their baggage fees to join JetBlue in this customer-unfriendly move. This move is sure to help write Southwest’s next advertisements as well as push more travelers toward the airline that gives each traveler 2 bags for free.

Earlier this week, I wrote about how JetBlue hiked their baggage fees and said this at the time – JetBlue is not normally the frontrunner on such changes but I am sure that the big 3 (AA, Delta, and United) are eyeing this increase a little jealously. Well, the first of the “Big 3” US airlines to act on this was United (I thought it would have been Delta). This increase will bring in more money for United but also give passengers even more of a reason to choose Southwest over United.

United Airlines Hikes Baggage Fees

As I said with the JetBlue increase, the fee increase is small enough ($5 for domestic bags, both on 1st and 2nd bags) but will still bring in millions of dollars for United. Here is how United tries to spin this increase of baggage fees:

“As we continue to make investments that make travel on United better, we are making adjustments to our checked bag fees in select markets — most of which have not been changed for the past eight years. These changes allow us to continue investing in the overall customer experience in today’s marketplace.”

Yeah, these fees never really go towards making things “better.” Does this new fee mean I will actually get my bag earlier? Does it mean that United will no longer lose my bag? Does it mean they will use that money for education baggage agents in how not to throw luggage when loading? No, it will not go for those things.

The United Airlines baggage fees will go into affect for tickets purchased from today onward and will look like this:

  • $30 for 1st checked bag
  • $40 for 2nd checked bag
    • valid for the U.S., Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Caribbean and Central America
  • $50 for the 2nd checked bag for Canada

This is up $5 per bag. As before, having elite status, a United credit card, or flying in business or first class will eliminate the bag fees (at least for the first bag).

This Will Push Travelers Toward Southwest Even More

While some people may complain about the boarding process (which, you have to admit, is pretty effective), Southwest is still better than airlines like United in several ways. This baggage fee increase just highlights again how great a deal Southwest can be since you get 2 bags for free.

As a matter of fact, these changes just give Southwest even more ad fodder for the coming fall travel season. In the past, they say that flying with Southwest would save travelers “up to $120 for roundtrip travel.” This new increase ups that savings to $140.

Southwest probably cannot wait for Delta and American to follow suit! For me, I just hope that the Big 3 start following Southwest instead of following each other.

Featured image Courtesy Markus Mainka /

HT: View from the Wing

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.