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October 23, 2017

AA & UA Penalize Carry-on Luggage Cheats

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:23 am

A number of the full service legacy airlines have recently introduced “basic economy” fares that are stripped of some usual conveniences. One of the rules of these fares is that you can only take a small personal bag onboard that fits in the seat in front of you. You are prohibited from taking a larger piece of luggage that normally would go in the overhead bin.

How do airlines enforce this new restriction? They’ve started checking at the gate since basic economy passengers all board last. And if they catch you with a piece of forbidden luggage, you not only have to pay the normal baggage check fee but they also assess a penalty for trying to cheat!


Baggage details (American Airlines)

You can board with 1 item like a purse or small handbag that fits under the seat in front of you and is not larger than 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). You won’t have access to overhead bins.

All other items must be checked at ticket counters and cannot be carried on. If you take them to the gate you’ll pay an extra $25 gate service fee per item plus the applicable bag fee. [Emphasis added.]

That’s the rule at American Airlines. Over at United, they have the same policy:


Full-sized carry-on bags are not permitted

You’re not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you’re a MileagePlus Premier member or companion traveling on the same reservation, the primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star Alliance™ Gold member. Everyone else who brings a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate will be required to check their bag and pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge.

If you want to avoid these penalty fees and restrictions, remember that Southwest Airlines does not charge checked luggage fees for the first two bags.

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  1. Waiting for the day in North America where you are charged a fee based on your body weight. The airlines have a set body weight limit and each pound you are over they tack on an additional fee per pound you are over the set body weight limit. When will we have the option of standing instead of sitting at lower discount rate……

    Comment by Scott — October 23, 2017 @ 9:02 am
  2. Screw the airlines. I drive whenever possible. I use to fly quite often, but I’ll do anything I can now to avoid the airlines.

    Comment by Richard Sullivan — October 23, 2017 @ 9:51 am
  3. Southwest is crazy expensive these days. Delta doesn’t charge for carry on bags even on basic economy fares, plus they actually fly on time and have better service overall.

    Comment by Jason — October 23, 2017 @ 11:14 am
  4. US is in dire need of high speed trains like Europe. Airlines love holding your feet to the fire. The friendly skies are not.

    Comment by allensc — October 23, 2017 @ 1:12 pm
  5. I have never found a lower price with SW. I have credit cards that will cover bags if I even use them. Usually a carry on. For overseas it is not an issue.

    Comment by Rick — October 23, 2017 @ 6:37 pm
  6. Frontier does the same thing. United and American are just matching their prices and policies. You get what you pay for.

    Comment by Arnold Semmons — October 23, 2017 @ 9:18 pm
  7. I think Southwest Airlines is very fair. They seem to go out of their way to try to please the customer. You have to be considerate if you want the airlines to trust you. Hopefully you like to be considerate to others. I also think their prices are way better than the bigger airlines. I try to fly Southwest whenever I have a need to.

    Comment by JOYCE JOHNSON — October 24, 2017 @ 12:58 pm
  8. Joyce… you need to shop around. While Southwest can be price competitive, lately they’ve been astronomically more expensive when I’ve looked. A recent flight, Southwest was almost $400 one way from PVD to florida. Jetblue and Delta was less than half that.
    Southwest is never on time anymore either. They offer no compensation when things go wrong, and they won’t rebook you on another carrier if your flight is severely delayed or canceled.

    Comment by Jason — October 24, 2017 @ 8:50 pm
  9. Trains would be less hassle but sadly Amtrak is more like a city bus than train service. Takes 4 hrs from Hfd, Ct to Penn statiin in NY.

    39 hrs to florida. Took trains in Europe that went over200 mph. Imagine a train form NYC TO MIAMI in less than 6 hrs. They would be pavked and airlines begging for customers.

    Hey Trump are you listening. Stop tweeting and build a new rr.

    Comment by Rich w — October 26, 2017 @ 10:49 pm
  10. I have no problems with these rules and the additional fee. From what I’ve seen these passengers knowingly choose these fairs since they are the cheapest. I believe is most cases they also board last. So by that time, there is no overhead space left. As long as I’m made aware of the rules then I can judge whether its worth it. If its not worth it, I can choose the more expensive flight, or another carrier.

    That being said, I agree we need more trains. I would take the train over an airplane in a heartbeat.

    Comment by Dave — October 28, 2017 @ 3:35 pm
  11. Well, they’ve started charging for everything, just waiting for them to start charging to get ‘fresh’ air.

    Comment by Teresa — November 7, 2017 @ 1:05 pm

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