New United baggage policy: $25 for second checked bag

Are you an over-packer? Do you have a tendency to pack all of your hottest outfits instead of choosing just one for your upcoming trip? Then you might want to re-consider flying United Airlines.

The airline announced today that beginning May 5, 2008 it will charge passengers $25 to check a second bag on all domestic flights. The only people that will get out of the new policy are those passengers who are members of the airline’s Mileage Plus and Star Alliance frequent flier plans. But even those who are members can’t expect to go hassle free; passengers will only be allowed the special “two bags for free” treatment if they have Premier Status or above with Mileage Plus or Silver Status and above with Star Alliance.

The charge is an attempt to deal with rising fuel costs without raising ticket prices; the $25 charge is expected to generate $100 million in revenue and cost savings per year. I say start practicing packing light to get your vacation wardrobe into one bag and save the money for a nice bottle of wine.