Saturday, November 1, 2008

United Teams With FedEx to Ship Bags

United Airlines, who finds it pretty hard to handle luggage all on its own, has teamed with FedEx to ship passengers luggage ahead of them.

United Airlines is teaming with FedEx Corp. to ship a passenger's bag overnight for as much as $358 round trip, betting that some customers will pay the higher cost to avoid taking luggage to the airport.

Travelers would get door-to-door baggage handling and avoid the wait at airport luggage carousels as well as the airline's fee of $30 to check one bag round trip. The new option's cost exceeds the $130 round-trip fee to check two bags with United, a unit of Chicago-based UAL Corp.

The service, announced in a statement today by United, extends efforts by airlines to boost revenue from sources other than tickets. Most U.S. carriers this year have added fees to check bags, and some are charging to reserve select seats, for coffee and soda on board and for pillows and blankets.

"This whole industry is headed in the self-service direction,'' Robert Mann of consulting firm R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, N.Y., said in an interview. "Whether it's bookings or boarding passes or seat selection or meal choices or baggage, it's all your decision to make and your work to get done.''

United expects about 1 percent of passengers to use the baggage service, said Robin Urbanski, a spokeswoman for the carrier. They may be "motivated by the convenience of not having to carry a bag to, from and through the airport,'' she said.

The service is available to passengers on United flights in the 48 contiguous U.S. states. The cost is $149 a bag each way for flights of less than 1,000 miles and $179 on longer routes.

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Nomadic Matt said...

i hate airlines. Well, American carriers.