I am just going to throw this idea out here and it's just an idea, not my person opinion....
United has (and read flyertalk, there is plenty of truth to this) made it known that they cater to their most-frequent travelers. There are accounts after accounts after accounts on flyertalk about how United Global Service Members and United's highest-level members get preferential treatment over other travelers.
I am not making that assumption on my own... I am making based on the many United frequent travelers on flyertalk who post things like: "I love United and would not fly anyone else, but that is because I have status. If anyone I knew did not have status on United, I would not recommend them."
It is, apparently, no secret that United is not a carrier that caters to leisure travelers and travelers chasing the lowest fare.
There is nothing wrong with that.
However, in this day of planes in the United States flying at or near capacity on EVERY flight.... of there being SO many people loyal to one carrier that the upgrade list and the request for exit-row seats are overwhelmed... of planes being packed and the overhead bins being even more packed than the seats.... perhaps United, and the other airlines that adopt this policy, are saying: "Since we cannot upgrade or move to premium seats our most LOYAL customers, the least we can do is guarantee some overhead bin space for them." You gotta admit, frequent flyers HATE checking their carry-ons on. They fly so much that the last thing they want to do is go wait at baggage claim...which is understandable.
So here you have a high-flying, very loyal customer to United (or another carrier) who can't get an upgrade, who can't even get into an exit row and who has to board in their "Group" or "Zone" only to be told that their carryons have to be checked when:
|Quoting DLX737200 (Reply 2):|
I had numerous first class and elite passengers complain about families getting to preboard as they took forever sometimes, blocked aisles and most importantly, got first go at the overhead bins
|Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 7):|
It was never intended to allow mom & dad to bring their elementary school-aged children on board, place their belonging (that would comfortably fit into half an overhead bin) into multiple bins -- and attempt to defend them from others use
Read some threads on flyertalk where there are topics like: "The longest upgrade list you have ever seen?" or "Number 56 on the upgrade list? Really???"
These are frequent flyers who spend A LOT of money and have their loyalty with ONE single airline....and they can't get an upgrade and then board in coach only to find that a family who booked on that particular airline based on price alone has taken up several overhead bins because they got to board first. It has to be frustrating to be a loyal customer, spending A LOT to only fly one airline... board and find there is no bin space left and they must check their carryon.
Look, I am not pro- or anti- family boarding. I can see both sides of it. The family needs extra time to get the car seat in place but then takes up an entire overhead bin because they are empty on boarding.... and the frequent flyer who spends a lot on an airline not able to find bin space when they are forced to board in Zone 107 because their upgrade didn't clear. I really can see BOTH sides....
But from an airline side... who do you want to upset more? The family that is only flying because XYZ Airlines had the cheapest fare and will jump to ABC Airlines the next time if they are cheaper? Or the frequent flyer who is loyal to XYZ Airlines that paid $1,000 the same day for a same-day ticket and couldn't get upgraded and the LEAST he or she could ask for is bin space?
Some of you may thing that is silly.... but go over to flyertalk. See how seriously the passengers who are loyal to ONE airline feel about bin space. It's a big deal.
United, and I do not fault them for this, caters to the repeat customer. They do. Maybe this is just one way to guarantee that when you have loyal customers who could not be upgraded and board first... the least they can do is guarantee bin space. That extra 30 minutes at baggage claim may not mean a lot to the family who is flying once a year.... but for a United customer who flies weekly or more... who spends a good part of their life on United aircraft and whos time is very valuable.... that extra 30 minutes is a big deal.
I see how infrequent flyers (and those with small kids) use the overheads.... they fill them up with their shopping bag, their hat, their wife's purse, the baby bag, the kid's backpack, every carry-on they have, the one personal carryon and the one personal belonging and the exceptions made for babies...an entire bin filled before Zone or Group One even gets to step foot on the plane.... Maybe United sees this as an opportunity to provide one last perk to their loyal customers who don't get the benefit of an upgrade.
My opinions are my own. They are not representative of my employer, my union or my co-workers. They are all mine.