United hascome outwith their latest offering in the ever creative world of airline fees: the all-you-can-eat plan for checked baggage. For $249 a year, United will allow you to check up to two bags (normally $20 and $30 for the 1st and 2nd bags) for a whole year. Any hangers-on (up to eight) in the same reservation also benefit from the deal. Think of how much the Eight-is-Enough family would have saved had this been around in their day.  This is an innovation that I am surprised came from a legacy carrier. These folks are not known for breaking new ground, more for sticking customers with unwanted fees. Hey, if you have to have fees, this gives frequent travelers a significant break.  I predict that other carriers will copy United’s lead.  The baggage fees bring in almost more than airfare these days, so there is no way they are not going to charge for bags one way or another.

It is a smart move for United, particularly if it builds any loyalty among travelers who may not fly enough to gain Mileage Plus elite status. And maybe those same people, after buying the option, will even pay a little more to fly United because they have some built in savings vs. the other carriers.

And if you are checking a surfboard or flying with gold ingots, you’ll still have to pay the usual extra charges for large and heavy bags.