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United Airlines Passengers Can Now Prepay Their Bag Fees

Aug. 28, 2019
2 min read
United Airlines Passengers Can Now Prepay Their Bag Fees
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If you're flying United, you won't have to wait in line just for the privilege of paying to check a bag anymore. The airline will now let travelers pay those fees online any time after their travel is ticketed.

USA Today first reported on the new policy, which the airline confirmed at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas.

In an email sent to employees, which TPG reviewed, the airline noted that it is the first legacy carrier to offer a baggage pre-pay option.

Historically, low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier have allowed passengers to pay their ancillary fees ahead of time (and then charged a premium to passengers who chose to pay at the airport), but traditional full-fare airlines like United have generally only permitted passengers to pay fees in person or during the online check-in process.

Unlike the low-cost carriers, United will charge the same rates ($30 for the first checked bag and $40 for the second) to passengers whether they pay online or in person. United's software will automatically refund passengers who pre-pay for a bag but do not end up checking one.

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The airline said the new system should help reduce crowding in airport check-in areas.

For those looking for avoid bag fees altogether, travelers holding either the United Explorer Card or United Explorer Business Card get a free checked bag for the card holder and for up to one traveling companion.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
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  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.