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United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

Parker, Colorado
posts: 12
reviews: 8
United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

I recently purchased a new Tumi Extended Trip Packing Case for my upcoming trip to Europe, and was surprised to find that my airline - United -- has a policy limiting checked luggage to 62 linear inches (outside length + width + height) before tacking on a $200 oversized luggage charge. Unfortunately, my new suitcase comes in at a hair over 65 linear inches. I'm assuming I'd be hit with the $200 charge on my way to Europe AND back, so I'd rather buy a new bag before paying the $400 total oversized charge.

Has anyone had any successful/failure in getting past the oversized luggage charges with similarly-sized bags? Is United fairly strict when it comes to size restrictions?

16 replies to this topic
Liverpool, UK
posts: 9,644
reviews: 14
1. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

"Has anyone had any successful/failure in getting past the oversized luggage charges with similarly-sized bags? Is United fairly strict when it comes to size restrictions?"

Enforcement of baggage policy can be a bit hit and miss - you might get away with it on one flight but not the next, it comes down to the attitude of the check in staff on the day.

The best approach is to assume that the policy will be enforced and plan accordingly - the fact that another passenger on another flight got away with it is no help to you if asked to stump up the $200 fee when you check in.

madeira
Destination Expert
for Funchal, Madeira, Madeira Islands
posts: 4,902
reviews: 25
2. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

why should an airline allow a bag 3 inches bigger than their allowance, because you didn't check the size before you bought. Change it for a size that fits the requirement instead of expecting airport staff to be generous in letting you through.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 16,153
reviews: 5
3. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

Don't know about luggage size, but for weight they certainly are getting strict. Twice I've seen someone in tears or seething because they checked in two overweight bags and had to stump up $260 ($100 each for overweight plus the standard bag fees).

You can't bank on United cutting you slack on oversize bags. And even if they did, what about the next airline you fly?

If you've just bought that bag, see if you can trade it in for the next size down, which is 57 linear inches.

Australia
posts: 580
reviews: 28
4. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

And wouldn't it be great if they started getting tough on enforcing carry on limits. (Oh the anticipation and hope....)

Agree with the others..why not get a bag that fits the rules?

Edited: 3:42 am, August 24, 2013
Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,686
reviews: 71
5. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

Hi,

Hi,

Agree with the others... Generally speaking US carries have not been as strict, compliant or enforced what is their policies on this matter... But ... That is slowly changing especially speaking to weight... I personally don't see this issue as going any direction other than to be more strict in the future..

The thing that I'd be worried or aware of is, IF -- and that's an "if" - they do check, they'd be wholly right to levy all charges associated with an oversized bag.. And given this would take place at the airport, I think you'd be hard pressed for viable alternatives at that point and place in time..

In this case I think we're taking about odds.. But to me, I don't like playing this odds game especially when there's a readily available (and arguably low cost) option to keep you complaint - thus removing yourself fom the risk game - however small or large it might be...

Also, since oversized (like overweight) is an objective assessment, it will be hard to argue if it is or isn't ...

Travel Safe,

Parker, Colorado
posts: 12
reviews: 8
6. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately, I was caught a bit unaware about oversized luggage policies when I purchased the piece of luggage and had no idea it would be considered oversized. In all of the reviews I read about the product, no one mentioned having any issues with oversized charges and the retailer didn't advertise it. It's unfortunate luggage retailers do not make a point of warning customers about the potential oversized charges that can actually exceed the price tag of the luggage.

United's oversized-luggage fees do seem a bit excessive, however. If I were to travel with 2 pieces, each measuring 62 linear inches (3 inches smaller than mine), the baggage fees would be less than half of the $200 oversized fee for one bag. Considering the 2 bags would take up more space and most likely weight more than my 1 bag, it seems as if United could come up with a better fee structure.

Edited: 10:00 am, August 24, 2013
Liverpool, UK
posts: 9,644
reviews: 14
7. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

"It's unfortunate luggage retailers do not make a point of warning customers about the potential oversized charges that can actually exceed the price tag of the luggage. "

That's simply unrealistic bearing in mind the differing rules and charges on the number of airlines across the world.

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 24,854
reviews: 17
8. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

United's policies are not unique to United. On many airlines it is less expensive to take two regulation bags than 1 oversize bag. Realize that frequently oversize luggage requires special handling. While your bag is only slightly larger and probably wouldn't--where do you draw the line. 5 inches--10 inches--15 inches! The only way the airlines can ( and should) it to draw the line right at the advertised size.

Parker, Colorado
posts: 12
reviews: 8
9. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

I agree that airlines need to set limits for sizes and weights; however, it might be better policy to have a sliding scale for oversized luggage so that a 65 linear inch conventional suitcase would have a smaller fee than a 115 linear inch item. It might do a thing or two to keep unsuspecting airline passengers a bit happier too. Having unsuspecting travelers in tears (as US BusinessTraveler noted earlier) isn't always good for business.

I've decided it's definitely not worth the risk, and will be buying a new suitcase. If anyone has suggestions for a lightweight case with quiet wheels, a garment bag, and a size that falls comfortably below most airlines' oversized limits, I'd appreciate any recommendations.

Edited: 6:32 pm, August 24, 2013
Illinois
posts: 9,741
reviews: 16
10. Re: United Oversized Luggage Policy for Checked Bags

I would recommend measuring the bag yourself with a tape measure if you are buying one close to the limit. The size listing by the manufacturers is often smaller than the actual bag. My daughter has a bag that was labeled at 22" but is actually 23" because the manufacturers don't include the wheels and handle and the airlines do.

Oversize or extra bag charges often don't make sense to me, but that's the way they are. For example, I can put the same amount in one large suitcase as I could in 2 smaller ones, but I get one bag free (on an international flight) and have to pay $100 for a 2nd bag. It annoys me because I travel with a small bag and then an extra folding bag for purchases (which I rarely have to use but did on my recent European trip).

I think the limits are often smaller on European airlines than on US airlines, especially the low cost ones, so I would just check the websites of all the airlines you plan to fly.

Edited: 7:32 pm, August 24, 2013
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