United Airlines Gets “Friendly”er, Eliminates Curbside Baggage Check at Dulles Airport

After a few days of radio silence wrapping up a vacation in Disney World, I’m back and I have a ton of stuff to catch up on in the world of points and miles.  Here’s my quick tidbit for this morning.

United didn’t have the most positive news cycle last week.

First, they ordered Expert Flyer to stop displaying their award and upgrade information.

Then, there was Black Friday, where they gutted their mileage program MileagePlus, most specifically for partners and premium cabin awards.

As we were departing last week from Dulles airport I decided to check our bags curbside.  This isn’t something I do frequently since I never check a bag for business travel and sometimes even get away without checking a bag on a family trip.  There were easily a half dozen folks in line waiting to check bags outside even though it was early afternoon on a Wednesday, traditionally a slower travel time.

The employee that helped me with my bags informed me that this was his last day on the job because United was eliminating curbside bag check at the airport.  I find this a bit puzzling, and disappointing as a family traveler.  When traveling with my kids I always look for things that make the experience easier.  Not having to haul bags through the airport while keeping an eye on my young children is a plus in my book.

Dulles is an especially cumbersome airport to do so in.  If you park in one of the economy lots you’re forced to load your bags onto a bus, then unload downstairs, come upstairs and find the correct counter.  The more expensive daily garages are a bit closer but still require a lengthy walk with bags and kids in town.

All in all, a move that I’m sure United will save money on.  The employee I spoke to said he had been offered a job inside moving bags for less money.  I’m not informed enough on the economics of these employees to know if it’s a good financial move for United, but I’m certain the optics don’t make them seem like they’re helping me fly the friendly skies.


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1 Comment

  1. I’m sure it was cost based, maybe Dulles is a trial? I am the same, on family trips with the kids where I have a ton of bags I love curbside and on business trips I carry on. I think as the airlines have moved to the baggage fees less people are checking, seems that way to me anyway, especially at curbside. The other thing for my airport, DFW, curbside is on the lower level on most terminals from everything and seems like a basement that most people don’t visit as often so it’s even out of most people’s way so usage might be lower.

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