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United (Sorta) Introduces an Annual Checked-Bag Subscription

Is it possible United has finally managed to do something right? Seriously, I’m still not happy about you guys jacking up your change fee.

We caught wind last week that United is introducing new annual subscriptions for people who want to check in baggage, have better seating and be granted access to their lounges regularly. Clearly, if you’re a bag-checker, this could save you tons of money. It is also almost consumer friendly. Oh my god.

According to a United rep on FlyerTalk, “Customers will have the new option to purchase 1 or 2 checked bags for an entire year. Pricing will vary based on number of bags and region.” We got a sneak peek and it looks like it’ll start at $349 a year. Which is great! But where is it? Oh yeah, still being softly launched on United’s preview website.

Per the description on several leaked photos:

With a baggage subscription, you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation can each check up to two bags for free.

Please note: The purchase of a checked baggage subscription does not waive charges that would ordinarily be assessed for oversized and/or overweight bags and does not cover the cost of checking more than two standard bags.

The first bag currently costs $25 per flight; the second bag costs $35. Assuming you only check one bag, you would have to check a bag on at least 7 round trips to break even. Assuming you check in two bags, you would have to check 5 round- trips to break even.

The odds get exponentially get better if you have more people traveling with you. If you and your partner both check a bag, you it’s worth it somewhere between the third and fourth trip. And if the odds are that you’re on some crazy vacation with eight other family members, you break even somewhere midair over Idaho on your trip back between the crying and arguing about whose turn it is to sit in the middle.

(You’ll save $100 by the time you touch down. $280 if you all checked two bags. The cost might be your sanity.)

They’ve also introduced two subscription options for United Club lounge membership and Economy Plus seating subscriptions. The United Club membership starts at $500 or 65,000 miles respectively, plus an initiation fee if you’ve never joined before. Economy Plus starts at $499; the price fluctuates depending on regions and etc. These are the prices quoted for general passengers and regular Joe Smiths. If you’ve got status on United, some users are indicating this affects the price.

I have no idea when these subscriptions will be officially launched, but reps have stated that it will roll out in the next couple of weeks. In time for the summer!

United (Sorta) Introduces an Annual Checked-Bag Subscription via @maphappy
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