by Michael J. Shapiro | September 04, 2018
As of this past Friday, when many U.S. travelers were embarking on their Labor Day weekend trips, United Airlines quietly increased its checked-baggage fees to and from North America, the Caribbean and Central America. In each of those markets, for tickets purchased from Aug. 31 and beyond, the first-bag fee has gone up by $5 -- a 20 percent increase -- to $30.
What the carrier charges for a second bag varies by destination: For flights within the United States, including Puerto Rico, and to the Virgin Islands, the Caribbean and Central America, the fee has gone up to $40, again a $5 increase. Those flying to Canada with a second bag will have to pony up $50. The second-bag fee to Mexico remains $55.
Fees for flights to Europe, South America and Asia haven't changed. Travelers bound for Europe continue to enjoy no charge for the first bag but have to pay $100 for a second piece of luggage. Flights to Asia and South America include the opportunity to check two bags with no fee.
"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," noted a United spokesperson. "These changes allow us to continue investing in the overall customer experience in today's marketplace."
Travelers with MileagePlus Premier status, as well as those who purchase tickets with an eligible MileagePlus credit card, will continue to receive complimentary checked luggage, the spokesperson confirmed.
United's fee hike comes just days after competitor JetBlue did the same, raising both the first and second bag fees by $5 to $30 and $40, respectively. JetBlue raised the third-bag charge by a whopping $50, to $150. Two Canadian airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, raised fees as well after JetBlue's announcement. As of press time Tuesday morning, neither American nor Delta had made any changes to their baggage fees.
Exceptions to the fee policies are outlines at the carriers' respective sites.