United on Monday became the first major U.S. carrier to impose a $25 fee each way on domestic passengers
By Marilyn Adams
USA Today News
Millions of passengers who like to pack heavily on trips soon will have to pay extra to check a second bag on United Airlines (UAUA).
Citing the extraordinary cost of jet fuel, United on Monday became the first major U.S. carrier to impose a $25 fee each way on domestic passengers who buy the cheapest tickets and check two suitcases. Checking a third bag will cost an additional $100 each way.
Until now, checking two bags on flights has been free on United, the USA's No. 2 airline, and every other major carrier.
But luggage is heavy, and extra weight requires more fuel to transport. In the October-December quarter, fuel cost United $1.4 billion, 26% more than a year earlier. Fuel is airlines' largest expense, eclipsing wages.
"The passenger who checks two bags should pay the extra cost of carrying two bags," said Robin Urbanski, spokeswoman for the Chicago-based carrier.
See: Fliers will have to pay to check a second bag