United Becomes First Airline to Charge for Overhead Compartments

United Airlines announced that the customers will have to pay extra, in order to get access to the overhead lockers while travelling.

The move is inviting criticism from customers and frequent travelers alike.

Is The New Idea Workable?

The company is aiming to provide a new basic economy fare next year. Customers seeking the cheapest flying rates will be allowed to travel with one small item of luggage.

The item should satisfy the measurements set by the airline authority; no more than 9” x 10” x 17” (23cm x 25cm x 43cm). The customers will have to place their only item under the seats.

And if they need to use the overhead compartment for storing luggage, they will have to opt for an upgraded plan.

Furthermore, the seats will be assigned on the day of the departure. This may imply that customers with the same tickets will be forced to sit apart.

Why The Change?

According to the airline themselves, this move will not amount to a new fee. They claim that it will help in increasing the revenue and overall profits without making any major adjustments.

United also added that customers can use the overhead luggage spaces if they choose a standard economy fee.

Reaction To The Change

The people are furious and disappointed, according to the sources. They also claim that much of the regular travelers are going to boycott the airlines.

“It’s one of the most restrictive policies on airline passengers we have seen in a long time,” said a New York Senator.

“The overhead bin is one of the last sacred conveniences of air travel and the fact that United Airlines – and potentially others – plan to take that convenience away unless you pay up is really troubling. It seems like each year, airlines devise a new, ill-conceived plan to hit consumers and it has simply got to stop.”

Revisiting The History

This overhead locker charge is not the first fare which has pissed off the travelers.

Here is a list of all the previous changes which had a huge impact.

  • Breathing Tax: In 2014, the Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas charged £12 to each traveler upon departure to cover the cost of their newly installed air-purification system.
  • Fat Tax: In 2013, Samoa Air imposed a ‘pay as you weigh’ tax. According to the company, the rates were set at 1 Samoan tala per KG.
  • Cigarette Tax: In 2011, Belfast International Airport charged £1 to every passenger who wished to access the smoking area at the airport. Given that the airport also charges for the entry, it angered a lot of people.
  • Plastic Bags Tax: Despite all the airports providing plastic bags for free, Luton Airport charges £1 for two plastic bags, which can be obtained from the vending machine at the airport.
  • Parking Tax: Luton airport has also imposed a fee on parking in the main terminal. The airport charges £2.50 for up to 10 minutes of parking outside the main terminal. The penalty increases as your parking takes a lot of time.
  • Blanket Tax: Norwegian airline charges $5 for the use of a blanket whereas Jet Blue charges $5 for a blanket and $6 for a pillow. Virgin America, most expensive of all, charges $10 for either.
  • Name Change Tax: If you are looking to get your name changed on the ticket of Ryanair the you will have to submit a whooping amount of £110 (or £160 at the airport).
  • Airport Development Tax: Passengers who are flying from Newquay, Durham, Norwich and Blackpool are charged  an additional £10, on top of the fares and fees, for the airport’s development.
  • Fuel Surcharges Tax: In 2012, Telegraph Travel charged between £75 and £119.50 per person to compensate for the fluctuating fuel prices.

Sports Analyst & Head of Sports Desk.


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