UPDATE: It was a glitch! Thank goodness. From United “We had a temporary issue impacting prices shown on the baggage calculator. This didn’t impact the actual price customers were charged, and this customer should have been charged the correct fee of $35 first bag and $45 second. We corrected the error at the end of March.”

Yesterday, I wrote a post titled Is American Airlines Out of Their Minds? The topic addressed within  is completely different from the topic of this post but now, it looks like American’s biggest competitor is out of their minds, too. Why? For charging a reader three times the amount for the same size/weight checked bag for his return flight. Thanks to reader “D” for sending me screenshots of his itinerary and United’s insane baggage charge. Here are the details.

Reader Question:
“Thank you for all of your helpful information. I catch you on Leo’s show each weekend. I have an upcoming trip to Chicago and sprung for 1 class up from Basic so that I could bring on a carry-on “free” of charge. I do not plan to check a bag but this jumped out at me on the itinerary. If I were to check a bag it looks like they would charge me 3 times as much to bring it home!”

My Reply:
First of all, I appreciate you appreciate my information. BTW: For those who don’t listen to AM radio or podcasts, I’m on Leo (Laporte’s) show is called The Tech Guy and I’m a guest every Saturday at 12:30pmPT. You can watch/listen to it here.

Now to the question: I thought “D” must have been mistaken but the screenshot (below) clearly shows he’s not. United is indeed planning on charging him three times the amount for a checked bag for the return portion of his San Diego to Chicago flight next month.

“D”s flight details
Thu, May 06, 2021          1747              San Diego, CA, US (SAN) to Chicago, IL, US (ORD)
And returning
Sun, May 09, 2021          2154              Chicago, IL, US (ORD) to San Diego, CA, US (SAN)

As you can see below and in the screenshot above, these are the b
aggage allowance and charges for this itinerary

Thu, May 06, 2021
San Diego, CA, US (SAN) to Chicago, IL, US (ORD – O’Hare)  $45 USD
Sun, May 09, 2021
Chicago, IL, US (ORD – O’Hare) to San Diego, CA, US (SAN)  $150 USD

$45 for one checked bag is already ridiculously high but $150 for the same bag, weight and route is almost criminal. Do you agree? Have you seen anything like this before?

I reached out to United for comment but haven’t heard back yet so I will update the post when I do (UPDATE: I heard back from them and their response is at the top). But I tried booking the same flights on United.com, which is where “D” purchased his flights. Incidentally, it’s now three times the price he paid 10 days ago and I don’t see any information on baggage rates. And I’m not willing to book the flight to find out, even though I can get my money back within 24 hours; it’s just one more thing to forget and it’s a headache I don’t need).

But there is no Basic Economy being offered on this route so that’s not why. The only thing I can think is that maybe United is testing some new checked baggage rates by charging more on busier days since he’s returning on a Sunday, which is typically the busiest travel day of the week.

So that brings me back to my original question: Is United Airlines out of their minds?

20 Comments On "Is United Airlines Out of Their Minds?"
  1. Benesse|

    So outrageous. I guess they just don’t give a flip any more and don’t care if we know it.

  2. Patrick Mahoney|

    AMTRAC and /or ? Driving ‘by ? Auto’ is looking Better all the time . . .”ALL Things considered”.
    Lamentable. I remember UNITED! as being very conservative, professional and:’Top shelf’,(before “de-regulation”) along with T.W.A. and, AMERICAN. One can’t imagine the Morale of the Flight Crews,Operations,and Ground support.
    The ‘untouchables’ in “upper Mgmt”?? Smile.(grimace).
    Alas . . . .

  3. Sean Green|

    I recently booked a flight on United app for my Daughter. She pointed out the $150 charge for bag on return leg. I checked the reservation on the app and it shows $35 each way. Will be calling united soon

  4. Niki|

    Yes, this very true! I went home to North Carolina from New York/Newark. First I tried to book a flight to Greensboro it was going to cost me at least $215 one way and I still had to pay for a carry on. So I ended up going to North Carolina through the Raleigh Durham Airport (an hour from Greensboro, so we rented a car). But my itinerary was weird too…
    Going to Raleigh it cost me $150 per person including checked bag at 50lbs (I was going a way for three weeks) I was one pound over (I weighted it at home I thought I was under 50lbs. Unfortunately I was ONE POUND OVER they changed me $100! But to come back to New York/ Newark from Raleigh it was $97 per person this was economy and did not include checked bag… but at the end they offered me something similar to a reserved seat ??and checked luggage UP TO 70LBS coverage I said ok and charged me $70 extra per person. Granted Overall, I paid more going then coming but these baggage fees are absolutely crazy… but make matters worse at the airport in Raleigh would have charged me 50 I’d went over the limit. But there really needs to be a standard price I ended up paying more because I am visiting my destination. Also not all people are the same weight or shape or size, depending on your size ones clothes wight changes because a person size 10 + needs more fabric that the person 8 or lowers. That leaves you no real room to gi much if anything… it’s a form of discrimination. A parent traveling with an infant or child would more likely pay three times the amount just so they can be hands free to parent?

    1. Perry King|

      So why did you not just open your over weight bag, and remove 1 pound of something and put it in your carry on bag or purse? , and thus avoid the over weight charge. Plus Its been my experience that United does usually have a bit of a grace factor of a few pounds when your that close and they let it go !

  5. Anonymous|

    It is a known error in the bag charges that has persisted for a few weeks. Look at your on line reservation or website for correct charges.

    More research instead of shock journalism would benefit all.

  6. brian patrick Harrington|

    Time to take grey hound

  7. Ugo Salvini|

    I fly often both domestically & internationally and refuse to use AA and United.
    Not only are they gouging the consumer, they are screwing their ground staff and enriching their executives and upper management with tax payer bail out money. Avarice Airlines & United are not your only choices, at least for now.

  8. Barry Russie|

    I just flew United and had the very same prices for bags show up on my flight. I did not check a bag, only carried on a personal item. When I checked in for my return flight the bag fee was then $45.

  9. Patrick|

    Oxford Dictionary

    • United: Joined together politically, for a common purpose, or by common feelings.

    Ever since Continental Airlines was merged with United Airlines in 2010 it seems, from my view, they have steadily gone downhill each year. The cost to fly ith them goes up and up (fees upon fees) while the service goes down down down. Yuck.

    For domestic flights, I’ll stick with Southwest Airlines. For international flights, there are other airlines | options.

  10. Old Guy|

    It’s California. Probably just recovering extra taxes. California taxes everything else.

  11. Anonymous|

    This is an error on our website. The bag fee is $35 both ways for the first bag.

  12. Bob|

    United is awesome – American terrible

  13. Anonymous|

    I work for United and our website is showing incorrect baggage charges as of late. The correct price for the first bag is $35. I posted this same comment last night but it looks like it was deleted. I’m trying to spread correct information but it seems the intent of this post is to purposely spread negativity.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Just approving comments now. But I updated the post earlier today when United got back to me

  14. Ewol Bor|

    Basic Economy seats were implemented to insure “everyone” could find a fare to match their budget. This has been nothing short of a nightmare for the employees. Why? Because it seems those purchasing the cheap seats either can’t read or don’t like to read the fine print. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BRING A ROLL ABOARD bag with you in the cheap seats. Only what fits underneath the seat in front of you and that is the size of a shoe box at some locations. BRING A LARGE BAG of crap and PAY DEARLY dear. Prior to social distance boarding which is back to front (until April 15th it appears) those seated in basic economy (the last three rows on the aircraft) boarded last and deplaned last (good luck making that tight connection) however that all changed with covid. For months, basic has been boarding first and CS agents have to stop them, hold up boarding to charge and check a bag in some cases causing flight delays. Otherwise, they would be taking up the coveted overhead space which in theory has been reserved for those who have paid a higher fare or carry the United Chase Visa card which btw is pretty good deal if you travel more than once a year. So, CS agents and flight attendants who also monitor “checked bags” at the door, (god bless them for handling this so graciously) the basic economy BS they see over and over on a daily basis. United, will you please end this nightmare called the basic economy seat? The planes are full again and fare stability should be returning quickly. And for those of you shopping purely for low fare try SPIRIT followed by Greyhound, bicycle or even hitch hiking. Basic economy has perhaps been profitable, but at what cost to employee frustration and flight delays for those premium passengers? I wonder? Johnny?

  15. Doug Masters|

    Did the plane crash? Was it on time? People love to complain…why don’t you take Amtrak…a company that has a fatal derailment every 36 hours or Greyhound…who once had a bus vanish only to be found in the Mojave desert 29 years later full of 41 skeletons, no wallets, and no evidence of the driver.

  16. Chaffee|

    True Dat bro

  17. Fleta Sandercock|

    Why visitors still make use of to read news papers when in this technological world everything is accessible on net?|

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