United's New $249 Checked Baggage Fee Equals Instant Loyalty
United Airlines is launching a new program that allows passengers to buy their way into Premier Baggage, essentially offering customers the opportunity to pay the airline's exorbitant baggage fees in one lump sum. Instead of United's unreasonable per flight fees, customers now have the option of paying $249 for a year-long fee waiver on their first and second checked bags, plus the bags of up to 8 companions traveling on their confirmation code.
We honestly can't make sense of this move. Anyone who flies United regularly enough to make this worthwhile already gets Premier from their miles. For this to make sense, you'd have to fly more than 15 times a year and check a bag every time. Unless you're just hop-scotching from LA to Vegasin which case why are you flying United and why are you checking a bagthat easily gets you to 25,000 miles.
Meanwhile the insider travel blogs and magazines are going to spin this as yet another erosion of the barrier between United's elite passengers and the rest of us plebes. So in addition to launching a low-demand program that reminds everyone how exploitative baggage fees have gotten, the airline will also have managed to annoy their high-status customers.
The truth of this stunt, of course, is that you're not saving on your baggage fees as much as you're prepaying them. The upshot for United is that it financially locks travelers into the airline. In poker terms, they get pot committedthey'll accept a higher price for a route on United because they won't want to lose money they've already spent. Whoever it was in the United marketing department who suggested selling this as a way to "avoid fees" - we obviously hate you, but we kind of grudgingly admire your shamelessness.
[Photo: Bringo / Flickr]
· Premier Baggage [United]
· United Airlines Coverage [Jaunted]
· Baggage Fees Coverage [Jaunted]