United Airlines Increases Checked Bag Fees


Monkey see, monkey do. Who didn’t see this coming?

United Airlines is the latest American carrier to increase its checked bag fees on certain routes. Following in American Airlines’ footsteps, United will tack on an extra $5 on first and second checked bags on domestic flights in most markets.

Unfortunately United does not provide a table outlining its markets as they now have a fee calculator, however it appears to follow a similar structure like American. This is not a definitive list, but it appears if you are flying into or out of the following regions, you will be subject to the increase:

  • U.S. domestic flights including Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Central America (special conditions for Panama and El Salvador)
  • Caribbean (special conditions for Cuba)
  • Canada (special conditions)

The increased checked bag fees will be applies to tickets purchased on and after February 24, 2024 as follows:

  • First bag increases from $35 to $40. If you prepay online, the increase goes from $30 to $35.
  • Second bag increases from $45 to $50. If you prepay online, the increase goes from $40 to $45.

Regular economy passengers flying into or out of Panama or El Salvador, will benefit from the first bag still being checked for free, while the 2nd bag will follow the above increase. However basic economy passengers will be required to pay for their first bag as outlined above.

United 737-900ER
Photo: Bill Abbott/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Those traveling to Cuba will pay $35 for the first bag ($30 if prepaid), and $100 for the second bag, regardless if you pay for it online or at the airport.

Canada is also slightly different. For starters, the 2nd checked bag fee remains the same at $50, while those checking only one bag are hit the hardest as they now have to pay $40 instead of $30. Both fees cannot be discounted if you pay online.

Mexico flights also seem to be standardized following the pattern above. This actually comes as a benefit as the second bag is cheaper that it was previously.

With the exception of 2020, 2021 and 2023, revenue generated by airlines operating in the United States has constantly increased since 2014. In 2022 alone, the U.S. Department of Transportation Statistics noted that airlines operating within the U.S. collected almost $6.8 billion in checked bag fees, up from $5.7 in 2019.

United Airlines travelers can avoid these fees by either having some kind of MileagePlus loyalty status, branded credit card or flying in domestic first class (business class in some markets).

[Featured Photo: Dylan T/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) ]

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