United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) will become the first big U.S. airline to limit low-fare customers to one carry-on bag that fits under a seat, and will defer delivery of dozens of planes from Boeing Co (BA.N) as part of a push to boost profits.
United said that customers who bought its cheapest fares would not be assigned seats until the day of departure, meaning people on the same ticket may be split apart. Starting in the first quarter of 2017, United Airlines will further restrict the low fare traveler. It is difficult enough to travel these days and now United will make it even more difficult by limiting low-fare customers to one carry-on bag. Usually women passengers have a purse and a carry-on bag. This in itself, has been constantly abused by many passengers taking two or more carry-on bags and at least one checked bag. Furthermore, low-fare passengers will be further restricted by not assigning seats until the day of departure. This would create a situation where two or more passengers flying together may not be seated together. United will further restrict low-fare flyers from carry on bags that can only fit in the overhead bins instead of under the seat, and they will not accrue miles towards elite status.
The moves, which may frustrate travelers, are expected to add $4.8B to United’s annual income by 2020. Eliminating choice may come back to haunt them in the long run. Personally, I have only used United once and was very dissatisfied with their service and am an American Airlines flyer. I am treated well by them and prefer them for domestic flights and some of the international flights as well.