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Carry-On Luggage: The United Airlines Crackdown

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“I’ve been whacked more times than I can count by people loaded down with their life’s worldly possessions.”

If you fly United Airlines any time soon, be prepared to get “eyeballed” by security check workers.

This crackdrown from the Chicago-based airline has recently been enforced to better the rules about the size of carry-on luggage. The new enforcement started with new bag-sizing boxes at the airport and reminder emails to frequent fliers.

The size limit, however, isn’t anything new. Passengers are allowed to bring one carry-on bag to fit in the overhead compartment. It can be no larger than 9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches. Customers are also allowed one personal item such as a purse or a laptop bag that can fit under the seat in front of them. But over the years, many airlines have been lax in enforcing the size limit.

As always, if a United passenger chooses to check their oversized bag at the gate, there is no charge. However, if a passenger gets stopped at the entrance to security they now have to go back to the ticket counter and pay a $25 checked luggage fee.

Although United will benefit financially from the fees, a United spokesman says it has nothing to do with revenue.

“The stepped-up enforcement is to address the customers who complained about having bags within the size limit and weren’t able to take them on the plane,” Rahsaan Johnson said. “That is solely what this is about.”

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the airline’s chief revenue officer said that they hope to collect an extra $700 million in the next four years from the baggage fees and extra charges

Christina Schillizzi, a frequent United flier, was “naturally annoyed” to see the unfriendly flight crews forcing passengers to check carry-on bags. In the end, she said, the flight attendants “won out.”

But since 2008 when the United started charging extra to check a suitcase, passengers have been trying to make do with overstuffed carry-on bags.

“It was getting out of control with how much people were bringing on board,” said Michel Jacobson, another frequent United flier.

Other airlines, such as American Airlines and Delta, also do the “eyeball” test but United’s checks have definitely become more extreme.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Carry-On Luggage: The United Airlines Crackdown
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