Ancillary revenue is essential for most airlines. United Airlines has introduced a new way to earn that money in advance by introducing options that offer customers access to Economy Plus seating or pre-paid checked baggage charges for a year.
This is the first time a US major has given passengers the option of paying for a year in advance for an ancillary service.
It obviously opens the way for many variations, including multi-year options. There are of course potential pitfalls by paying in advance for a service from an airline that you may or may not get.
Ancillary revenue, the cost for everything but the flight itself, has become a vital source of income for airlines in the last few years.
U.S. airlines collected a record $6 billion-plus in baggage and reservation change fees in 2012, The Associated Press reported in May.
Travelers may access Economy Plus for a year starting at $499, and customers can select the region and the number of travelers on their subscription.
Economy Plus seats offer customers additional legroom to stretch out and relax. United offers more extra-legroom economy seating than any other U.S. airline, with Economy Plus available on most of the airline’s nearly 700 mainline aircraft and nearly 180 United Express aircraft. Economy Plus seating, when available, remains complimentary for Premier-level MileagePlus members.
United’s checked baggage subscription enables customers to pre-pay standard checked baggage charges for one year, starting at $349. Customers may tailor their subscription by choosing up to two bags, the number of travelers and preferred geographic region.
Additionally, customers may now use MileagePlus miles to purchase an annual United Club membership, which currently offers access to the 49 United Club locations, as well as Copa Club locations and participating Star Alliance affiliated airport clubs worldwide.
One-year membership pricing starts at $500 or 65,000 miles for general MileagePlus members, with discounts for Premier members. An initiation fee of $50 or 7,000 miles applies for all new United Club memberships.
Image Credit: unitedcontinentalholdings.com