United to Charge for Curbside Check-In

September 28 2005, 10:22 AM

United Airlines is making a big mistake. Beginning today, air travellers will have to pay $2.00 a bag for curbside check-in. You may not know it, but skycaps at D.I.A. get paid $2.13 per hour -- the rest, or about 90 percent of their income comes from tips. They are likely to be hit the hardest by the new policy. Can you imagine the lines inside if there was no curbside check-in? I remember when it was halted shortly after the September 11 attacks, and it was a huge pain. Also, the airline is moving to a different system of boarding passengers called "WilMA" whereby window seat passengers will be boarded first, followed by those with middle seats and aisle-seated passengers will board last -- and just have to hope there is overhead space left by the time they get to their seat. The airline says its a time-saver. Flying has become so time-consuming and burdensome the past few years that I now try to avoid it. From parking at the airport, to arriving at least 45 minutes before check-in to be able to check bags, to never knowing how long security lines will be, having to speedily unpack my laptop, remove my shoes and jacket and hope I don't get stuck behind a family of five with young children and strollers, to the every-decreasing seat size and leg room, longer waits to deplane and retrieve checked luggage, it's become a whole day experience, and rarely a pleasant one. If United wants to build customer loyalty, it should install Direct-TV on its flights like Frontier and Jet Blue, cut out the bag service fee and remodel the interior of its planes to increase seat width and leg room. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.