More bad news for fliers: According to The Points Guy, on March 1 United Airlines implemented an update to their systemwide policy that cracks down on passengers’ carry-on baggage rights. The airline has rolled out new bag-sizers by their gates and some check-in counters, and every flier—regardless of his or her class of service or frequent flier status—will have to use them to make sure their bags will fit.
The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag will remain at 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels. And the maximum dimensions for your one 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). The worst part—and the big news here—is the renewed focus on enforcement here, as described in an internal newsletter. And, not only might you have to check your bag and wait for it on the other side, but United agents will also be collecting checked baggage fees from passengers whose bags do not fit in the sizers ($25 for the first bag, $35 for the second bag). UPDATE: United has clarified that they won’t charge the fee at the gate—only pre-security—which is a big relief.
Note that the following items are allowed and do not count toward your one bag and one personal item limit:
- Jacket or umbrella
- Reading material
- Pet carrier (service charges apply)
- FAA-approved child restraint seat
- Diaper bag
- Food or merchandise purchased in the airport
- Assistive devices (collapsible wheelchair, cane, one set of crutches, medical devices needed to administer prescription medications, portable oxygen concentrator, etc.)
I’ve read that some gate agents have been strict while others haven’t been, but I’m guessing that with time, they’ll all become strict and that other airlines will follow suit. Bad news all around.
Key information from United:
- Carry-on bag specs
- Carry-on baggage rules, services and more
- A baggage subscription option if you fly United a lot (but don’t have elite status)