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11.03.2016
The high cost of travel has been seen not only in airfare this summer but in checked bag fees. When you add up the luggage for a family traveling to Oahu with kids we are taking about some serious baggage. It's something travelers dread, a surprise fee at the airport.Last year, airlines made a combined $3 billion on fees. United Airlines has quietly reduced domestic checked baggage allowances for both Star Alliance Gold and Silver members, clandestinely updating its baggage policy with a posthumous disclaimer.
Holders of Star Gold status outside of the Mileage Plus program who once enjoyed up to three free checked bags weighing up to 70lbs each now may only check a single bag without cost on domestic itineraries, weighing up to 50lbs. When United announced new elite qualification requirements that included minimum revenue thresholds on tickets issued by United, I penned a story arguing that United's actions constituted a direct attack on Star Alliance.
The problem is not that a slim subset of the flying public crediting 20,000 miles to Aegean Airlines each year in order to achieve Star Alliance Gold status is ruining it for everyone.
With a management decision that United's massive strength will take precedence over the wider Star Alliance partnership, the financial benefits of a 26-member Alliance can now be realized without having to provide the level of benefits that have characterized the last 15 years. Life goes on, but if you are a Star Alliance Gold member outside the Mileage Plus program, keep in mind that your checked baggage allowances have been reduced on United.


Star Alliance Silver members no longer will receive one free checked bag on domestic itineraries, further gutting the value of Silver status.
This latest move bolsters my contention that United is undermining the Alliance that it helped to establish in 1997. The Star Alliance logo itself, and the allure of redeeming miles on other carriers, lounge access, and making seamless connections on a single ticket, is the enduring legacy of Star Alliance. First, United is not violating a Star Alliance rule by making this change--Star Gold policy only require Star Gold members to be permitted one additional checked bag at no cost.
American Airlines announced June 1st that passengers will now be required to check large strollers at the ticket counter instead of the gate.
Profits from baggage fees in the first nine months of 2010 totaled $2.57 billion dollars according to the Transportation Department.
If you are going to have to pay hundreds of dollars to bring all your gear with you then why not save the hassle and money by renting baby gear.
Other benefits like priority check-in, baggage handling, and boarding have been and will continue to be marginalized.
Since United does not allow free checked bags on domestic itineraries, no rules have been broken.


American Airlines Ban on strollers now joins United who has a similar ban on large strollers. Travelers are now faced with fees for not only overweight baggage but size and or length of a bag can even cost you. Indeed, we have heard rumors that even lounge access and partner award redemptions are not immune from cutbacks. The reason being that BOB strollers and other large strollers were to difficult for agents to manage. United's joint venture partners are also not excluded from this stealth baggage policy change. Hawaiian Airlines fees for flights between the Continental US and Hawaii charges $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second.
A bulging bag could land you with a last minute fee at the boarding gate for an oversized carry-on.



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