When airlines began charging for checked luggage, many passengers began packing smaller suitcases in order to avoid the extra charge. The carry-on bag stored in the overhead bin of airplanes became a super popular item.
Now, one major airline has decided enough is enough. They are fighting back against the consumer by making the decision to ban the use of the overhead bin for some ticketholders, requiring a higher ticket price if the passener wants to use the bin.
United Airlines made the announcement, during their “investor’s day” on Tuesday, that they will not allow most customers purchase their Basic Economy fare to use the overhead bin. According to the company, this is in an effort to keep up with and match ticket pricing by ultra low-cost carriers (ULCC) like Spirit Airlines, Frontier, and Allegiant which have low fares but nickel and dime travelers for most other things, a tactic which often very dramatically increases the overall ticket price.
The new basic fares will roll-out in select markets next year.
United defended the Basic Economy fares int he following statement.
“The new offering provides the added benefit for customers and employees of simplifying the boarding process, as fewer customers will bring overhead bags on board.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) lambasted the new plan as “one of the most restrictive policies airline passengers have seen in a long time.” According to Schumer, United said the new plan will raise $1 billion for the company by 2020.
The new “Basic Economy” ticket would only allow travelers to bring one small item on board – 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches – and could only store them below the seat in front of them and pay for checked bags.
The use of the overhead bin is not the only way passengers will be impacted by United’s new plan. Passengers traveling together with Basic Economy tickets will have seats automatically assigned with no guarantee that those traveling int he same party can sit together.
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, praised the move by the airline in a statement, stating that it will make the cabin safer for everyone..
“United’s move to encourage fewer carry-on bags, similar to practices at Frontier and Spirit, will create a safer cabin for passengers and crew. Excess bags in the cabin lead to flight attendant injuries, slower boarding times, and passenger altercations. Flight attendants manage these safety and security issues often under the pressure of on-time departures and during a critical period for ensuring the overall security of the flight. Footage from recent aircraft evacuations show that passengers grabbing these bags risks the lives of everyone onboard.”
Delta Airlines has already introduced similar pricing. Other airlines, including American Airlines is expected to soon follow suit.
What do you think about airlines banning the use of overhead bins and forcing some travelers to pay the extra fee for checked luggage? Will this impact your travel decisions regarding which airline you will fly?