United and US Airways to Charge for First Checked Bag

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Chicago (AP) United Airlines and U-S Airways are joining the growing list of airlines that are charging to check your bags. The airlines announced they will follow rival American Airlines in charging $15 for a first checked bag.

The new fee was announced Thursday, three weeks after American set the precedent.

United says the fee affects customers who buy tickets beginning Friday for domestic flights from August 18 or later.

Also, the Chicago-based carrier is increasing the fee to check three or more bags, overweight bags or items that require special handling to $125 from $100, or to $250 from $200, depending on the item.

The fees reflect a struggling airline industry passing the costs of high fuel prices to passengers.

Most U.S. carriers are already charging 25 dollars for checking a second bag.

Airline expert Tom Parsons says, as of July 1, Southwest Airlines will be the only U.S. carrier that permits two checked bags for free.

And starting August first, bring some cash onboard if you want a soft drink.

U.S. Airways says it will start charging $2 for those non-alcoholic drinks you used to get for free in coach.

The cost of wine and alcoholic drinks is also going up, from $5 to $7.