Everyone else in North American may have noticed the new (since June) airline baggage rules for domestic flights but I hadn't been affected by United Airlines luggage-as-profit-center pricing until last week. There is now a fee of $125 per bag for over-weight bags or for a third bag per passenger, increasing to $250 per bag for the fifth, sixth and seventh. If a passenger has an eighth bag it is probably less expensive to fly privately.
We of course carried an extra duffel with our snorkel gear and incurred a fee, reminding us that Federal Express, which is also in the luggage delivery business, would have delivered our duffel for a mere $79.
I have been told that the objective of the new fees is permit the airlines to display the lowest possible fares on the travel shopping sites but I am convinced it is all some strange conspiracy to force us to purchase new luggage. My existing bags are either too small for an extended trip or too large to limit to the fifty pound maximum that begins to incur a fee whenever, that is, the maximum is not seventy pounds. The ideal solution would be to carry the same amount in two smaller bags that I would have to purchase and that reminds me that the last time I was forced to buy luggage it was because the airlines had changed the allowable dimensions for carry-on.
This tangled web is another reason that Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America are doing to United what they initially did to British Air. That is, taking the traffic on the routes they fly.