When it comes to commercial airlines, ask what else they can take away and you'll inevitably get an answer. In this case, United Airlines is going to start making you pay for using the overhead bin.
Their newest offering, Basic Economy, only allows you to bring on a personal item that stores under your seat. Or you can pay to check a bag. But you can't put anything up above.
Of course, another way to spin it is that you can still buy a regular economy seat that comes with full overhead privileges and it's cool because you'd save money by getting the more basic seat. That's all well and good, along with the other inherent benefit, that fewer overhead items means a potentially quicker boarding process.
But the problem is that when those lowest fares start creeping back up to where we're at now, it'll feel like we're losing, not gaining something.
The move marks the first time a major U.S. airline limits low-fare customers to one carry on-bag that fits under a seat, Reuters reports. United expects such fare initiatives to add $1 billion to its annual operating income by 2020, as more customers pay to check luggage or select higher fares for two carry-on bags.
Passengers with disabilities will still be able to carry on whatever mobility aids and devices they need. And certain elite frequent fliers and credit card holders will be allowed the storage we've grown accustomed to. So who knows, maybe this is a good thing? But no, it's probably not.