United finds another way to screw travelers [WTF]

Bethany fired this story off to me this morning:

9News from AP:

United Airlines will begin charging domestic travelers $25 for a second piece of checked luggage unless they belong to some frequent flier programs. United’s parent — U-A-L Corporation — says it hopes to earn more than $100 million in revenue and cost savings a year from the new plan. It will take effect May 5. A United spokesman said Monday the new policy will help keep United’s fares competitive.  The $25 fee won’t apply to customers who have premier status or higher in the Mileage Plus program or silver status or higher with Star Alliance.

Is the airline industry (which could very well follow United’s lead) really out to make flying as miserable as possible?  I realize they’re hemorrhaging money, but they need to find a better way than nickel-and-dime passengers for every option.  Have you seen that low-cost airline commercial where everything on the plane from the reclining chairs to the overhead compartments have a coin-slot in them.  I bet some of these airlines like United looked at that commercial and said "Theses guys are onto something?"

There’s nothing I hate worse when you’re flying and they won’t give you the whole Coke can, as if some bean counter somewhere figured that if they only served 60% of Coke to you then they would save Y amounts of money per year.  This is just the next evolutionary step of this.  I’ll admit to being a notorious over-packer, but when they’re weighing your bag to the ounce to their limits, you now have the gall to charge for that second bag that we’re really using just to defer this policy.

When will the airline industry realize that charging for those stale peanuts is not going to save their industry. They need to fix their business model, utilize better technology (get off of radar and onto satellites) and get away from the notion that every empty seat on a plane is equal to a company-wide loss.