United Airlines will charge extra fee for use of overhead bins

Posted at 11:55 AM, Dec 04, 2016

The coveted carry-on bag. Not checking your bag has its perks--avoid waiting around at baggage claim at the end of your flight, or worrying about losing it, and it's cheaper.

Or, at least, it used to be.

United Airlines just announced a new ticket option called "Basic Economy," banning the use of overhead bins for luggage.

So now you're stuck with either paying for a checked bag, or paying for a more expensive ticket to bring it on the flight with you.

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According to a release from U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's office, United expects the plan to raise $1 billion for the company by 2020. Other airlines are waiting to see if this policy sticks before implementing it themselves.

Schumer (D-New York) says this proposed fare increase is one of the most restrictive policies airline passengers have seen in a long time.

"The overhead bin is one of the last sacred conveniences of air travel and the fact that United Airlines - and potentially others - plan to take that convenience away unless you pay up is really troubling," said Schumer. "Already, airlines charge extra for checked luggage, pillows, peanuts and headphones and now you'll have nowhere to store them. United Airlines should reverse this plan and allow the free use of the overhead bin for all."

The new "Basic Economy" ticket would only allow travelers to bring one small item on board - 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches - and could only store them below the seat in front of them and pay for checked bags.

While other airlines have a restrictive "Basic Economy" ticket option, none restrict the use of the overhead bins. Some do, however, restrict your ability to choose your seat.

United's "Basic Economy" tickets will also automatically assign seats at check-in and not guarantee that travelers on the same reservation will be seated together, similar to Delta's "Basic Economy" fare. Delta's ticket limits seat assignments, giving seat assignments after check-in. Both options could separate family members until the FAA creates a policy to allow children to sit with a family member at no extra cost.

Schumer says the loss of the overhead bin use is a lose-lose for fliers and could change the policy of free use of the overhead bins for all airlines.