United Airlines is raising its checked baggage fees, joining JetBlue Airways and two Canadian carriers.
The airline will now charge $30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second check bag, according to an update on its website. The change went into effect Friday (Aug. 31).
United said in a statement that higher fees will allow it “continue investing in the overall customer experience in today’s marketplace.”
Some customers, mostly elite-level frequent-flyers and those purchasing high fare types, are exempt from the fees.
The move comes days after JetBlue became the first major U.S. carrier to bump the price of the first checked bag to $30. Discounter Spirit Airlines already charges $30 on some routes. Canadian carriers WestJet and Air Canada raised their bag fees this month, too.
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United rivals American and Delta have not announced higher bag fees, but carriers tend to match each other on fees and fares. Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest domestic carrier, allows two free checked bags. CEO Gary Kelly is adamant that the airline’s bags-fly-free policy will remain. Southwest did hike its EarlyBird boarding fee, though.
United notably did not change its bag policy on basic economy tickets. It remains the only major carrier that does not allow basic economy passengers to bring a standard carry-on bag for free. Those passengers’ bags must fit underneath the seat in front of them. Travelers bringing a bigger carry-on to the gate are charged the standard checked bag fee, now $30, plus a $25 gate surcharge.
American Airlines had a similar policy for basic economy passengers but recently announced that passengers will be able to bring a standard carry-on as well as a personal item beginning Sept. 5. The airline said it was losing basic economy business to Delta, which allows a free standard carry on.
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