United Raises Checked Baggage Fees

It will now cost you $35—each way—to check your first bag when flying United Airlines.

The carrier announced on Friday it was increasing its fees for checked baggage from $30 to $35 for the first bag, and from $40 to $45 for a second bag.

It was likely just a matter of time for the second domino to fall after JetBlue increased baggage fees in January, and United, Delta and American are expected to quickly follow.

The increase takes effect on March 6. For tickets purchased before Feb. 21, baggage fees remain at $30 and $40. Baggage fees also remain at $30 and $40 if you pay the fee anytime before online check-in.

Baggage fees have been a constant and lucrative stream of revenue for airlines since 2008 when American Airlines became the first legacy carrier to introduce the concept of baggage fees. Other U.S carriers quickly followed.

Since then?

Well, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that in 2018—the last year figures are available—U.S. airlines brought in $4.9 billion in baggage fees, up from $4.6 billion in 2017 for a 7 percent increase.

American Airlines brought in $1.2 billion in baggage in 2018, the highest among the 11 U.S. carriers. United was next at $888.7 million and Delta was third at $788.5 million.

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