United has a new ticket fare, where no luggage is included in the price (except what fits at your feet). If you want overhead bin space, or to check, you pay. I actually love this, though I would much rather checked luggage be free and overhead charged for everyone.
If you have been on a flight recently (say last 3-4 years) then you likely know how big of a shit show it is when you board a plane. There’s so many people with bags that are clearly too large to carry on, or people with clearly too many bags. Tons of gate checking — in all I think people not following rules, add tremendously to the overall boarding time.
In the past couple of trips I have taken with United I have noticed something I never saw before: gate agents caring about luggage. I’ve seen them using both luggage sizers at the gate and forcing people to check — and I’ve seen them simply telling people they have too many bags. I know this likely annoys a lot of people, but as someone who packs small and light, I commend United for this.
It’s been far to long where people don’t follow very clear rules. And honestly, if you can’t fit all of your stuff in a properly sized carryon, then why wouldn’t you want to check it? It’s so much easier at that point to not drag it all around.
Again it would be great if they flipped things, where checked is free (for one bag) and carryon is charged for anything more than a personal item. You pay for the convenience of not waiting to get your bags back — seems to make sense to me.