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As airlines increase baggage fees, customers up their carry-on game

Increasing airline baggage fees could push consumers to carry-on luggage
Increasing airline baggage fees could push consumers to carry-on luggage 02:15

BOSTON - The battle for an overhead bin is about to become more competitive. United is the latest airline, after American and JetBlue, to announce a fee increase for checked bags - meaning the carry-on crowd could have more company.

"It adds up! Half the airlines charge you to pick your seat in advance, too," said one dad, of how expensive family travel can be.

"Everything has a fee, it feels like. Just the world we're living in now," said a college student on his way home.

Starting this weekend, economy-class passengers on domestic United flights will be charged $5 more, to $35, if they pay online at least 24 hours before the flight. Passengers who wait until they get to the airport will pay $40. The price of a second checked bag will also go up $5, to $45 in advance online and $50 at the airport.

As CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg points out, planes can't accommodate carry-ons now

"The game that so many passengers are playing is getting their bags through security and out to the gate and then having the airline say, 'Well, we're going to have to gate check the bag for free,' and they go, 'Oh, OK!'" Greenberg said.

He said it's working for now, and another trend involves stuffing a pillowcase to be counted as a carry-on. If all else fails, you can always layer up.

"There are garment manufacturers now making jackets with up to 35 pockets so that you're literally wearing your bag onto the plane as a coat. I'm not kidding!"

Greenberg adds that even now in what's considered the off-season, planes are full with airfares that are at near-historic highs, making this move about increased margins rather than increased costs.

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