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You can generally get a pretty good feeling of what your flight will be like on US Airways when you book it: US Airways like to try and charge you for every little thing, showing to a large extent how much like a low cost carrier they have become. One of the most annoying things about US Airways is the way when you are booking flights, taxes are not included in the initial fare presented: it will them jump significantly at the last stage of booking.
At least transatlantic and to Brazil bags are free: on domestic you'll also end up paying US$25 for the first, US$35 for the second, and a whopping US$125 for the third. Check in at US Airways varies from a complete zoo at some outstations, to an orderly line at Gatwick. But when asking 'what is US Airways like?', many people find Economy (Coach) on US Airways is a totally different ballgame.
In First Class you should not expect any food, even if you pay for it, on flights of less than 1.5 hours, however at certain times of day you'll get a Biscoff sweet biscuit or savoury cocktail mix.
US Airways boards by zone, although at some airports, it tends to turn into a rugby scrum where everyone boards at one.
Zone 2 are the semi-elite: Dividend Miles Silver, holders of US Airways credit cards, and those who have paid for a 'choice' seat. Zones 3 – 5 are all the rest, but to speed up the process, US Airways boards those at the back first; that is, those in zones 5, then 4 then 3.
Beware that on some of the smaller regional flights (which can actually be quite long) operated by the Embraer 190, the cabin is tiny, and the overhead bins are even smaller. International in economy (coach) to & from Europe, the UK, and Israel, the first bag is free, but the second is much more expensive, at US$70, then $200 for the third and forth. United put its new carry-on baggage sizing policy into effect yesterday, so we asked TPG Contributor Jason Steele, a Denver-based United flyer, for his take on the policy and its enforcement. If you’ve flown on United Airlines recently, you might have noticed that they have deployed new carry-on baggage sizers at all of their gates, and even at many of the check-in areas. Maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. Maximum dimensions for your personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item, are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm). However, those who have measured the new sizers find that their interior dimensions are one inch larger than advertised. All passengers may be required to place both their carry-on and personal item into one of the new sizers before boarding. United will collect checked baggage fees from passengers whose bags do not fit in the sizers. At the same time, the reason that people aggressively push the boundaries of the current policy is that United charges (non-elites and those without one of their co-branded credit cards) for checked bags at the check-in counter. Furthermore, these new limits are significantly less than that what will fit in an overhead bin. Having each passenger place his or her bags in a sizer, and potentially have to see an agent to pay a checked-bag fee, will undoubtedly slow down the boarding process even more. Limiting bags to linear dimensions of 45 inches with a maximum single dimension of 22” is not the same as limits of 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
It is unclear whether or not United and their contracted gate agents will require the bag to merely fit in the new sizers or to easily slide in and out. Unfortunately, many will discover that their expensive carry-on or personal item needs to be replaced in order to comply with United’s new rules. The bottom line is, the new policy is in effect, and it’s better to be prepared than get blindsided by having to pay a fee to check your bag at the gate. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
In effect this mean you pay for all your food and drinks on board except on flights from London to Vienna, and flights above 1 hour 40 minutes. Even though this process is illegal in several countries, including the UK, US Airways still carries on with it.
Then you get to the desk, and see why there are delays: many people are complaining about paying US$70 for a second checked bag. You are greeted at the door, although not shown to your seat, and there are normal pre-flight drinks, along with blankets and (free) headphones. After takeoff, you'll be asked if you want to purchase earphones: they are not complementary on US Airways, you'll have to pay $5. Above 1.5 hours, you get a snack basket which comes through the cabin about 20 minutes from the start of the flight with crisps and chocolate bars.

On flights up to 1.5 hours, there isn't even a trolley service, however above this a trolley, starting at the front, which offers free soft drinks or coffee. Gone is the weight restriction, and now you'll see pretty much everyone carry on huge and very heavy bags. Now, this is fine if you are in First, as above First on the right hand side of the cabin there are large, normal sized overhead lockers.
Beware of the rule in the US that you have to collect your bag when arriving off an international flight, go through customs with it, and then check it in again. This is in conjunction with a new policy that was implemented systemwide on Saturday, March 1. Expect no exceptions for elite level travelers and those traveling in business or first class. Carriers like Southwest and JetBlue that allow checked bags for free are able to load their cabins much quicker.
For example, the carry-on that I have used without a problem on dozens of flights since 2006 easily violates the new standard. United has a couple pages on their web site here and here, as well as a single, short post on Flyertalk. Some passengers will argue the point with United staff, while others will have to take time to retrieve their valuables before checking their bag. For example, a cube of 15 inches on each side complies with the Contract of Carriage, while it would definitely not fit into the new sizer. For example, traveler can buy this Tumi Alpha Continental bag from United’s MileagePlus Awards Mall. With other airlines, I have had agents force me to check a bag that fit in their sizer without much effort, but was still deemed too large. Those with plans to travel on United should take out their tape measures and ensure that their bags comply with this new policy. If you look closely at the baggage sizers, you will see that there are cutouts on either end of the 22-inch length for handles to protrude (but not wheels). Even when the dimensions of your bag appear to be compliant with the new policy, there is no accounting for the whim of gate agents under pressure to enforce this new policy who might find that your bag doesn’t fit easily enough, or that its handle is too large.
United’s Contract of Carriage is filled with exceptions to the carry-on plus personal item rule.
United offers its Explorer and United Club cards that offer up to two free checked bags when you use them to purchase your tickets. If you don’t want to worry about being forced to check your favorite carry-on bag, you might just want to fly a different airline.
I have long preferred soft side carry ones because they tend to be more affordable and because I could overstuff them a little.
Many bags list a height of just 20 inches, but that often doesn’t account for handles. Bring your tape measure with you to shop for luggage, and double check any bag you order through the mail.
Passengers can choose from salmon ciabatta, sandwiches, salads, pastries and fruit, at up to €5. You can however book seats once you are through the stage where you have to give your name etc, however 'Choice Seats' (ie, emergency exits, etc) cost US$35 extra transatlantic. However, there is always priority check in for those in Envoy class, and Star Alliance Gold can use it too.
If you are on the Airbus A330-200 you'll also be asked if you'd like to be shown how the new seat works. You can however save money by bringing on your own, so long as you have 2 prong airline ones (or ones with an adaptor). This is particularly noticeable if you come off an international flight, and transfer to domestic, where US Airways certainly shows how low-cost it has become.
The only exception to the starvation diet is on a few of the longest flights which are over three and a half hours long. Although there have been rumors online of this policy change for some time, it was confirmed by the UA Insider company representative on Flyertalk last week. Do not expect staff to be swayed by protests from travelers who have flown with their bags for decades and know that it will fit easily in the overhead bins. Therefore, most observers are left to conclude that by implementing a new carry-on bag standard along with the policy of charging for gate checked bags is clearly done as a revenue-generating measure.

It is entirely likely that gate agents might accept a carry on for the first leg of a flight, but reject it on the second leg.
Therefore, it would be wise to include a small cloth backpack or bag with your valuables, just in case you are forced to check your bag at the gate. These include an overcoat or wrap, an umbrella, a reasonable amount of reading material, a camera, and a diaper bag.
At this time, most other carriers have little incentive to separate you from your carry-on, so long as it fits in the overhead bin.
I find some good deals at discount retailers in my area such as Ross, TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning. Many travelers have found that their bags dimensions are inaccurate, or don’t include wheels and handles.
You can also buy a club day pass for $29, but beware, this option is often offered even when there is no club you can use. As a gold, make sure your status is noted at checkin: as a US airline, US Airways are more sensitive to upgrade requests than most, and these are always handled by status tier.
Personal items include a purse, briefcase or laptop bag: this laptop bag can be large, very large.
Hence, here, US Airways have a novel system that if you have a normal sized wheely bag, you drop it at the airbridge (ask for the special tie on label for this). Some travelers have received email announcements while others have noticed additional information when checking in online. Over the weekend, as this new policy was supposed to take effect, some travelers reported strict enforcement, while others saw none.
On a practical level, one could easily have a bag of 20 x 14 x 10 inches that meets the specification of Contract of Carriage, but fails to fit in the new sizers. Nevertheless, your bag will obviously fail the sizer test if it violates the 9-inch dimension, which is 10 inches on the actual sizers. As long as they are enforcing their rules (and then some), passengers should be aware of all the permissible exceptions. For example, I picked up a hard-sided piece from a company called CIAO that is compliant with United’s new policy and international carriers for $40. It's pretty quick: there are two trolleys down each aisle, preceded by drink orders, and then the dessert trolley. These come around on trolleys from the front, and you will then asked if you want to buy alcoholic drinks, at $7 a go. Normally beer costs a $7 for a small can, and if you not from the US you will be charged a 'foreign transaction charge' of up to $13, because the charge is processed in the US.
It's then put in the hold – and you collect it from the airbridge when you deplane, after hanging around for a bit. What takes time is clearing up the plates later: that can take quite a while, but in generally so long as you get the new A330-200, the business class experience on US Airways is better than on many other airlines based in the USA. Never use a credit card for this (unless you are an American) as you will also be charged a 'foreign transaction charge' of up to $13, because the charge is processed in the US, making it $20 a beer! You do however get free alcoholic drinks, including a pre-flight drink of whatever you like: this is brought to you as you sit down.
You will also pay in your 'home' currency, at a ruinous exchange rate, making it $20 a beer. For example, the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal currently offers an additional 8 points per dollar from eBags, while shoppers using the American Airlines AAdvantage shopping mall will enjoy 5 miles per dollar plus a 10% discount for purchases over $49. Besides, since your carry-on bag will always be within your control, you don’t have to worry about it being tossed by a baggage handler or run over by a luggage cart. Amazingly expensive, and to rub in salt into the wound, you can only buy one beer at a time, so you can't stack up and save on multiple fees.
In effect this means three type of beer that are sold in economy, spirits, or wine; you'll generally be offered three refills on the flight. Thankfully US Airways take cash for transatlantic flight, but they will only take US dollars: hence, take a stack on board, and always pay in cash.

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