Good news for United flyers: The airline has announced it will offer a 20 percent discount on its first-checked-bag fee when you prepay online, and has canceled plans to raise its second-checked-bag fee from $25 to $50 one-way. Beginning Monday November 10, you'll pay only $12 (instead of $15) to check your first bag when you pay the fee in advance on United.com. The discount is available through January 31, although the ability to pay for baggage fees online will continue.
So why the sudden discount and cancelation of fee increases? It appears that complaints from fed-up consumers got to upper management at United. At least that's what I discerned from this press-release quote made by Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Dennis Cary: "We are listening to our customers, and these changes are designed to give them more choice and flexibility to customize their travel experience while keeping our prices competitive in a rapidly changing market environment."
This isn't the first time in recent months that United has changed its plans after being inundated with complaints. After United said in August that it would begin charging for meals in economy on transatlantic flights, the airline received so much criticism, it reinstated meal service a few weeks later.
So, while some airline CEOs have said all their new fees are here to stay, it appears passengers can have an impact on how much they pay, and in some cases, can get airlines to back off new fees completely. As I see it, if you don't like an airline fee, let the carrier know by sending a complaint letter or an email—the decision-makers may actually hear you out.
Do you think complaining to airlines about fees is effective? Post a comment below.