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(Forbes)   United Airlines: Would you like to buy an annual subscription ... for your baggage?   (forbes.com) divider line 34
    More: Fail, United Airlines, ancillary revenue, domestic flights, checked luggage, subscribers  
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1677 clicks; posted to Business » on 04 Jun 2013 at 11:00 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



34 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-06-04 09:29:47 AM  
i169.photobucket.com
 
2013-06-04 09:43:19 AM  
No thanks my baggage already subscribes to Psychology Today, Latin Inches, and Poppin' Mommas.
 
2013-06-04 10:35:51 AM  
What I don't get is you have to fly a decent amount for this to make sense, and if you fly that much with them you likely have elite status anyway where it's free to check one bag and such (at least it was last year when I still had elite status w them- left over from my Continental days).  So what's the point of this?
 
2013-06-04 10:56:31 AM  
A better deal would be to get a United credit card. $95 a year annual fee gets you:

30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months your account is open.  (enough for a free flight)

Primary cardmembers and one companion on the same reservation can each check their first bag free on United-operated flights when purchasing tickets with their Explorer Card.  That saves you $100 per roundtrip. Make back the $95 fee in one roundtrip.

Priority boarding. Primary cardmembers and companions on the same reservation will board United-operated flights after Premier members and prior to general boarding.

Etc. etc.

No, I don't work for United. Just pointing out a better deal than what they are offering.
 
2013-06-04 11:09:24 AM  

Andromeda: What I don't get is you have to fly a decent amount for this to make sense, and if you fly that much with them you likely have elite status anyway where it's free to check one bag and such (at least it was last year when I still had elite status w them- left over from my Continental days).  So what's the point of this?


THIS. Unless United elites don't get any free check bags, which I highly doubt. I fly my carrier a half dozen times a year, which is enough to qualify for a minimum two checked 75 lb bags (without charge; more if flying TATL J or F) on each flight.
 
2013-06-04 11:34:09 AM  

Walker: A better deal would be to get a United credit card. $95 a year annual fee gets you:

30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months your account is open.  (enough for a free flight)

Primary cardmembers and one companion on the same reservation can each check their first bag free on United-operated flights when purchasing tickets with their Explorer Card.  That saves you $100 per roundtrip. Make back the $95 fee in one roundtrip.

Priority boarding. Primary cardmembers and companions on the same reservation will board United-operated flights after Premier members and prior to general boarding.

Etc. etc.

No, I don't work for United. Just pointing out a better deal than what they are offering.


Or a better deal would be you just get check bags with any ticket so you board quicker and don't have folks cramming 3 pieces of 'carry on' into the overheads.

Or just tell people to fly Southwest.
 
2013-06-04 11:55:18 AM  

Andromeda: What I don't get is you have to fly a decent amount for this to make sense, and if you fly that much with them you likely have elite status anyway where it's free to check one bag and such (at least it was last year when I still had elite status w them- left over from my Continental days).  So what's the point of this?


Naa, elite status starts at 30 segments or 25k miles on united. So you need to be flying a fair amount to get there. Its 25 to check a bag domestically currently, so you would only need 7 segments for this to start making sense. Unless you are doing a bunch of transcontinental flights, even flying once a month won't get you elite. Also there are special rules as to what miles count for status. For instance at check in you are always offered to double your miles for a relatively small fee, but these do NOT count towards status. It is an additional fee for those, and they are almost as expensive as your ticket.

However there are plenty of credit card offers that will get you there, with better perks, at a lower rate. However if you don't spend much on them, chances are you won't qualify for status after the promo period.

There is a market for this, it isn't a big one, but it is there.

wingnut396: Or just tell people to fly Southwest.


I recently had to fly southwest. I don't understand how people do it on a regular basis. lining up like cattle to board, everyone jockying for a seat, then someone with a kid gets on late and everyone has to play not it for who wants to give up their window or aisle so the parent and kid can sit together, then the people who have already boarded as standby now having to get off because the plane was overbooked, etc.
 
2013-06-04 12:07:24 PM  

LineNoise: I recently had to fly southwest. I don't understand how people do it on a regular basis. lining up like cattle to board, everyone jockying for a seat, then someone with a kid gets on late and everyone has to play not it for who wants to give up their window or aisle so the parent and kid can sit together, then the people who have already boarded as standby now having to get off because the plane was overbooked, etc.


I don't get this argument any more.  I used to, but now 'regular' people line up like cattle as well for reserved seat flights so they can suck up all the overheads because they are not paying to check any bags.  And if you fly enough on Southwest, you are going to board pretty early, so you can pick what seat you want.

And with United, they are starting to fee damn near every seat that is not a non-exit middle seat.  The last United flight I was on was less than half full, but we were all jammed together because nobody paid for the super economy or whatever the fark the call the 3 inch extra leg room seats.  The flight attendants would not let anyone move to the empty premium seats unless they wanted to pay on the plane for the upgrade.

Fark United and their ruination of Continental.
 
2013-06-04 12:13:14 PM  

Andromeda: What I don't get is you have to fly a decent amount for this to make sense, and if you fly that much with them you likely have elite status anyway where it's free to check one bag and such (at least it was last year when I still had elite status w them- left over from my Continental days).  So what's the point of this?


The point is customer loyalty for non-elite pax/price conscious customers.

After you subscribe to the program, you will only want to fly United to make sure you get your money's worth.
 
2013-06-04 12:16:14 PM  

wingnut396: LineNoise: I recently had to fly southwest. I don't understand how people do it on a regular basis. lining up like cattle to board, everyone jockying for a seat, then someone with a kid gets on late and everyone has to play not it for who wants to give up their window or aisle so the parent and kid can sit together, then the people who have already boarded as standby now having to get off because the plane was overbooked, etc.

I don't get this argument any more.  I used to, but now 'regular' people line up like cattle as well for reserved seat flights so they can suck up all the overheads because they are not paying to check any bags.  And if you fly enough on Southwest, you are going to board pretty early, so you can pick what seat you want.

And with United, they are starting to fee damn near every seat that is not a non-exit middle seat.  The last United flight I was on was less than half full, but we were all jammed together because nobody paid for the super economy or whatever the fark the call the 3 inch extra leg room seats.  The flight attendants would not let anyone move to the empty premium seats unless they wanted to pay on the plane for the upgrade.

Fark United and their ruination of Continental.


Funny how you think United ruined Continental.  Most people see it the other way around, Continental mindset (squeeze every last dime out of regular fliers before giving elites upgrades), management (Jeff Smisek, John Rainey), reservations system (SHARES) and philosophies (cheaper mechanical standards) that ruined United.

Their stock is up today, but UAL is going to go down once Wall Street figures out that UA is just adding more and more regional jets to routes to cut capacity.
 
2013-06-04 12:17:33 PM  

wingnut396: And with United, they are starting to fee damn near every seat that is not a non-exit middle seat.  The last United flight I was on was less than half full, but we were all jammed together because nobody paid for the super economy or whatever the fark the call the 3 inch extra leg room seats.  The flight attendants would not let anyone move to the empty premium seats unless they wanted to pay on the plane for the upgrade.


Haha

 Actually wrote a proof last semester that shows that when this happens you're hosed. All of you.
 
2013-06-04 12:18:59 PM  

mcreadyblue: The point is customer loyalty for non-elite pax/price conscious customers.

After you subscribe to the program, you will only want to fly United to make sure you get your money's worth.


Which will only work for so long (like a year maybe).  Why should anyone purchase a subscription like this when people can pay $95.00 for a credit card that gets you better bennies or just fly Southwest?

Just more flawed thinking and a sad state of affairs from United AIrlines.
 
2013-06-04 12:19:55 PM  

wingnut396: LineNoise: I recently had to fly southwest. I don't understand how people do it on a regular basis. lining up like cattle to board, everyone jockying for a seat, then someone with a kid gets on late and everyone has to play not it for who wants to give up their window or aisle so the parent and kid can sit together, then the people who have already boarded as standby now having to get off because the plane was overbooked, etc.

I don't get this argument any more.  I used to, but now 'regular' people line up like cattle as well for reserved seat flights so they can suck up all the overheads because they are not paying to check any bags.  And if you fly enough on Southwest, you are going to board pretty early, so you can pick what seat you want.

And with United, they are starting to fee damn near every seat that is not a non-exit middle seat.  The last United flight I was on was less than half full, but we were all jammed together because nobody paid for the super economy or whatever the fark the call the 3 inch extra leg room seats.  The flight attendants would not let anyone move to the empty premium seats unless they wanted to pay on the plane for the upgrade.

Fark United and their ruination of Continental.


Yea, I did prefer how things worked on continental, but united has been pretty solid for me. Granted I have status there, so don't have to deal with much of the nickel and dimeing, but ultimately that is what people wanted.

Back when you used to have to call every airline to find a flight people went of reputation. Now your casual flyer is just putting when they want to fly into expedia or whatever, and going on the lowest fare, so airlines need to keep their base fare as low as possible in order to get anyone to book. The end result is that comes with a bunch of addons and reduced service.

The closest you get to a middle ground any more is jet blue, but if you have ever flown jet blue when something has gone wrong, you will quickly see you ultimately get what you pay for.

What I would love to see is this subscription model extended to include a few more things, at an added cost. For instance, I fly american maybe a half dozen times a year. Not enough to get status, and since I fly united a ton, my airline card is with them to maximize points and what not. However if american offered me say, a subscription for 500 or even a grand a year that gave me access to their lounge, a free checked bag, priority boarding, the fancier economy seat, and a couple of drink coupon's, I'd probablty be all over that. Sure, I could probably just pay for those things ala carte when I needed them and pay a few bucks less, but then I might fly them a little more when a flight was better timed for me, instead of me choosing united over them because I'll miss my perks.
 
2013-06-04 12:21:58 PM  

wingnut396: I used to, but now 'regular' people line up like cattle as well for reserved seat flights so they can suck up all the overheads because they are not paying to check any bags.


Easy solution: get a roll of tape and a label maker, then mark the overhead bins so that each seat has an assigned segment. If you bring two items then the smaller one goes under the seat.

wingnut396: Fark United


And fark their "thank you for choosing United" messages. I didn't choose you, my company's travel policies and meeting schedules did.
 
2013-06-04 12:24:22 PM  

LineNoise: instead of me choosing united over them because I'll miss my perks.


It's funny you mention that, because one of the big reasons I left United and went to American was because there are way fewer perks at UA anymore.   It's sad that many of the perks 1Ks gets can be matched (or damn near) by paying a credit card annual fee.
 
2013-06-04 12:25:13 PM  

LessO2: Funny how you think United ruined Continental.  Most people see it the other way around, Continental mindset (squeeze every last dime out of regular fliers before giving elites upgrades), management (Jeff Smisek, John Rainey), reservations system (SHARES) and philosophies (cheaper mechanical standards) that ruined United


Perhaps it was the other way around.  All I know is that if I flew a few times a year, I could check bags no problem on Cont.  They were first in this area to start using regional jets instead of turboprop puddle jumpers or once daily tired old MDs.  I never was never a hugely frequent flyer, so most of those upper tier benefits I never saw. But I didn't see any changes of that Ryan air fee crazy nature until after United took the name.  In any case, whoever ruined an airline I had otherwise liked can fark themselves in their own ear.
 
2013-06-04 12:29:05 PM  

wingnut396: Perhaps it was the other way around.  All I know is that if I flew a few times a year, I could check bags no problem on Cont.  They were first in this area to start using regional jets instead of turboprop puddle jumpers or once daily tired old MDs.  I never was never a hugely frequent flyer, so most of those upper tier benefits I never saw. But I didn't see any changes of that Ryan air fee crazy nature until after United took the name.  In any case, whoever ruined an airline I had otherwise liked can fark themselves in their own ear.


If you want to see for yourself, do some Googling and you'll see that it's Continental people ruining running United now.  They're just way over their heads right now.  In about a year or so, their stock price will reflect that.
 
2013-06-04 12:29:20 PM  

LessO2: LineNoise: instead of me choosing united over them because I'll miss my perks.

It's funny you mention that, because one of the big reasons I left United and went to American was because there are way fewer perks at UA anymore.   It's sad that many of the perks 1Ks gets can be matched (or damn near) by paying a credit card annual fee.


I may be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure that points earned on your credit card don't count as PQM's after the promo period. I get them either way, but I'd be pissed if that wasn't the case.

And yea, the 1K's on UAL really don't add up to beans anymore, however they have so many silvers that you almost need 1k if you are ever hoping to catch an upgrade. I swear I have been on flights between ohare and newark where literally half the damn plane was on the upgrade board.

I have the fancier UAL credit card just because it comes with lounge access built in. I've been thinking of dumping this and just getting an amex platinum or another lounge membership plan that offers more access though.
 
2013-06-04 12:41:55 PM  

wingnut396: Fark United and their ruination of Continental.


this^ and not just because I'm from Houston
 
2013-06-04 12:52:26 PM  

LineNoise: I may be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure that points earned on your credit card don't count as PQM's after the promo period. I get them either way, but I'd be pissed if that wasn't the case.

And yea, the 1K's on UAL really don't add up to beans anymore, however they have so many silvers that you almost need 1k if you are ever hoping to catch an upgrade. I swear I have been on flights between ohare and newark where literally half the damn plane was on the upgrade board.

I have the fancier UAL credit card just because it comes with lounge access built in. I've been thinking of dumping this and just getting an amex platinum or another lounge membership plan that offers more access though.


Yeah, that's why I mentioned "damn near."

I have the old UA credit card, where I get comped the annual fee.  I'll probably drop that next year because I rarely use it nowadays, and I'm going to be losing 1K next year.  I haven't flown a UA revenue ticket since August last year.  Doubly sad, after flying nearly two million miles on UA, nobody from UA has even called to ask what's up.

Careful on the Amex card, I don't think that gets you into the United Club.
 
2013-06-04 01:16:31 PM  

wingnut396:
Or just tell people to fly Southwest.


Unfortunately, people still cram the overheads on southwest because people hate waiting at the baggage carousel.
 
2013-06-04 01:38:05 PM  

Andromeda: What I don't get is you have to fly a decent amount for this to make sense, and if you fly that much with them you likely have elite status anyway where it's free to check one bag and such (at least it was last year when I still had elite status w them- left over from my Continental days).  So what's the point of this?


If this is their latest, greatest, first-in-the-industry offering for bag subscriptions, it's safe to say that free elite-status baggage is going away.
 
2013-06-04 01:52:47 PM  

clkeagle: Andromeda: What I don't get is you have to fly a decent amount for this to make sense, and if you fly that much with them you likely have elite status anyway where it's free to check one bag and such (at least it was last year when I still had elite status w them- left over from my Continental days).  So what's the point of this?

If this is their latest, greatest, first-in-the-industry offering for bag subscriptions, it's safe to say that free elite-status baggage is going away.


There's more for an airline to lose in bad PR than money to be gained in charging Elites for bags.   Besides, Elite flyers are some of the best bag-packers and rarely need to check luggage on most trips.
 
2013-06-04 02:11:25 PM  
1. Offer piss-poor baggage handling, with onerous fees.
2. Offer a "subscription" that promises marginally better handling at slightly cheaper rates
3. Profit!

Airlines are racing to the bottom, to figure out just how much they can charge for just how little service with which they can get away.

Eventually, they're going to work out how much to charge you to not fly United, and make it a mandatory non-flyer's fee, deducted from your paycheck automatically - but, they will be able to lessen it by offering a "frequent non-flyer's subscription", in which you pay marginally less than your neighbor if you promise not to fly United for the entire year.

That's how ridiculous it's getting.
 
2013-06-04 02:58:40 PM  

LineNoise: I recently had to fly southwest. I don't understand how people do it on a regular basis.


I fly SWA all the damn time and am happy to do so.  Their rates cant be touched and you can get last-minute fares for $99-$160 if you really, really have to get somewhere.  The "jockeying for position" argument is tired. Their longest flight is 2.5 hours so even if you are the dude who walks up to the gate 5 minutes before they shut the door, you're going to get a seat and if its the middle, you probably wont be there all that long.

The overhead bins are generally less crammed because people are happy to check their bags making boarding/deplaning smoother.  I fly them when I can even though I live in a US air hub city.
 
2013-06-04 04:57:51 PM  

LessO2: mcreadyblue: The point is customer loyalty for non-elite pax/price conscious customers.

After you subscribe to the program, you will only want to fly United to make sure you get your money's worth.

Which will only work for so long (like a year maybe).  Why should anyone purchase a subscription like this when people can pay $95.00 for a credit card that gets you better bennies or just fly Southwest?

Just more flawed thinking and a sad state of affairs from United AIrlines.


Companies do not let you expense credit card annual fees.

Plus, Southwest doesn't fly to Europe or Asia or Canada or South America....
 
2013-06-04 05:40:20 PM  

mcreadyblue: LessO2: mcreadyblue: The point is customer loyalty for non-elite pax/price conscious customers.

After you subscribe to the program, you will only want to fly United to make sure you get your money's worth.

Which will only work for so long (like a year maybe).  Why should anyone purchase a subscription like this when people can pay $95.00 for a credit card that gets you better bennies or just fly Southwest?

Just more flawed thinking and a sad state of affairs from United AIrlines.

Companies do not let you expense credit card annual fees.

Plus, Southwest doesn't fly to Europe or Asia or Canada or South America....


If I had the chance to pay $95.00 to get benefits like that, I'd pay it out-of-pocket in a heartbeat.

Southwest doesn't fly to those destinations you mentioned, but other airlines do.
 
2013-06-04 05:53:29 PM  

LineNoise: wingnut396: Or just tell people to fly Southwest.

I recently had to fly southwest. I don't understand how people do it on a regular basis. lining up like cattle to board, everyone jockying for a seat, then someone with a kid gets on late and everyone has to play not it for who wants to give up their window or aisle so the parent and kid can sit together, then the people who have already boarded as standby now having to get off because the plane was overbooked, etc.


I've flown Southwest numerous times. I've NEVER had an issue. Guess it helps that I pay the little extra for the early bird perk. Cheap fares, no baggage fees, and very polite crews everywhere I've been, even being helpful the one time I was late getting in to a flight due to traffic issues in DC.

Either I'm lucky or you're unlucky.
 
2013-06-04 09:17:31 PM  

o5iiawah: LineNoise: I recently had to fly southwest. I don't understand how people do it on a regular basis.

I fly SWA all the damn time and am happy to do so.  Their rates cant be touched and you can get last-minute fares for $99-$160 if you really, really have to get somewhere.  The "jockeying for position" argument is tired. Their longest flight is 2.5 hours so even if you are the dude who walks up to the gate 5 minutes before they shut the door, you're going to get a seat and if its the middle, you probably wont be there all that long.

The overhead bins are generally less crammed because people are happy to check their bags making boarding/deplaning smoother.  I fly them when I can even though I live in a US air hub city.


Southwest reminds me a bit of Greyhound. It is cheap to get where you're going and it feels cheap. If I'm going to be stuck on an airplane for 3-5 hours I want wifi, a tv screen, a power outlet, and a flight attended to bring me drinks  whenever I ask.
 
2013-06-04 09:30:30 PM  
Corporate America: "Everybody, just give us a bunch of money, and keep doing it. And will keep billing you. Thanks, suckers."
 
2013-06-04 09:42:12 PM  

clkeagle: Andromeda: What I don't get is you have to fly a decent amount for this to make sense, and if you fly that much with them you likely have elite status anyway where it's free to check one bag and such (at least it was last year when I still had elite status w them- left over from my Continental days).  So what's the point of this?

If this is their latest, greatest, first-in-the-industry offering for bag subscriptions, it's safe to say that free elite-status baggage is going away.


I think it's more safe to say that the "free bag" from the Explorer card is going away.  They already changed the rules this year - it used to be if you booked the flight via any means as an Explorer cardholder you would get a free bag. Now you have to book directly on the United site and pay using your Explorer card.  So, what used to be a cheap buy up to pseudo-elite status on business trips now only gets you boarding access.  Your free bag only gets counted if you buy the more expensive flights direct from the source instead of going through a third party.
 
2013-06-05 05:11:10 AM  

LineNoise: Unless you are doing a bunch of transcontinental flights, even flying once a month won't get you elite.


knew I was doing something wrong - haven't flown coast-to-coast even once this year!  (But I've got SFO-EWR-DEN-LAX coming up.)

www2.hawaii.edu
A mix of United, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish...
 
2013-06-05 06:31:42 AM  

Andromeda: So what's the point of this?


You really dont know?

First finance lesson of the day:  Anytime you a commodity is broken into a flat rate subscription, its because they're gambling that you wont use the amount they actually sold you.

In other words, they're creating a policy for stupid people who are bad at math to just hand over their cash, rather than forcing the airline to squeeze that money out of everybody.  Works out for me.  *shrug*
 
2013-06-05 07:05:43 AM  
Seems like an okay idea for the frequent traveller. The only problem with it I can see is that United is a terrible airline that isn't worth using.

/At least in my experience
 
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