Monday, August 18, 2008

Snow in Colorado Mountains, New baggage rules and buying cheap airline tickets

This past weekend we saw some real cool weather that brought snow to the high peaks of Colorado and other areas of the Rocky Mountains. This is the first sure sign that another ski and snowboard season is not far away. As each of us prepare for this next ski and snowboard season things sure have changed in the planning of vacations and staying within a budget. We all know how the rising cost of fuel is affecting prices everywhere. The costs of airline tickets for this season is one of the steepest price increases I have seen over the last 30 years in this business. This is coupled with new fees for bags which impacts all of us skiers.

We want to keep you informed of what is being charged and how to get the best airline discounts. Personally I think they have gone overboard. Here is an email letter I just received last week from United:

Dear Mr. R John Siewierski,

Thank you for choosing United for your upcoming air travel. Before your next trip, we would like to remind you about our current carry-on baggage policy and changes to our checked baggage policy effective August 18.

Federal regulations limit all customers to one carry-on bag, plus one personal item such as a purse, laptop, briefcase or backpack. To ease your boarding process, please board only when your Seating Area is called and be considerate of others when sharing overhead bin space. When boarding, place your carry-on bag wheels first in the overhead bin and place your personal item under the seat in front of you.

Checked baggage fees summary

If you purchased tickets...and are traveling...the following fees apply to check bags

First bag, Second bag

Before February 4, 2008Anytime$0$0
Between February 4, 2008 and June 12, 2008 Anytime $0 $25
On or after June 13, 2008 Between June 13, 2008 and August 17, 2008 $0 $25
On or after June 13, 2008 On or after August 18, 2008 $15 $25

Effective August 18, 2008, a $15 service fee will apply, each way, to check your first bag and a $25 service fee will apply, each way, to check your second bag for all United Economy® travel ticketed on or after June 13, 2008. This fee applies to travel within the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.*

For more details on all of our baggage policies, as well as frequently asked questions, we invite you to visit united.com/baggage.

Again, we thank you for your business and look forward to welcoming you onboard soon.

*Additional baggage charges will apply for checking more than two bags or if any bag is overweight or oversized. Some exemptions may apply. Baggage policies and services fees are subject to change without notice.

To me this is added insult to injury. The next area I am questioning is why would I buy direct from United when I keep getting better air fare through third party operators like Travelocity and the Mountain Sports Club Travel desk. I am finding fares that are $200 - $300 cheaper on our travel desk than by booking direct from United. Of the other major carriers to date Southwest Airline has been consistently been the best value I am finding coming into Denver and there are currently no additional baggage charges.

I know you may need airline tickets for your next ski vacation, so make sure to book with us at The Mountain Sports Club travel desk and save hundreds on your next airfare.