The GO Group is a ground transportation company that serves O’Hare International and Midway airports. The GO Group recently surveyed travelers after United Airlines announced it would implement subscription based amenity programs. Seventy five percent of those polled said they would not pay an annual fee upfront for guaranteed airline amenities according to the survey.
Of the choices offered, 14 % of the respondents said they would participate in a subscription program for more leg room. The next three highest choices, tied at eight percent, were pre-paid checked bags; priority boarding and priority seating. Just three percent responded that it would be worth the up-front costs for priority overhead bin storage and complementary alcoholic beverage service.
“These results indicate that while most travelers still prefer the pay-as-you-go system, a small percentage are willing to pay up from to guarantee amenities that make air travel more enjoyable,” says John McCarthy, president of both The GO Group.
There are a variety of subscriptions and they range in price – with varying options to select from. It can become pricey, quickly depending on your selections.
If you selected the option to check 1 bag in North American (for someone traveling to the US and Canada) for 1 traveler, you’d pay $449 (with the $50 subscription fee waived.) You’d have to take 9 round-trips with checked bags before you break even (based on standard $25 per-way charge for checked bags.) If you have airline status, and depending on the class of service you’ve booked, fees will vary.
I can’t imagine ever paying for this service myself, or any of the other subscriptions united is offering for that matter. What do you think? Would you pay?
Yeah… it ain’t gonna happen
I’m a General Member so I’m the type of traveler these products are probably targeted to. My travel patterns have justified my holding the United Club Card which give me many of the benefits of MP Silver. I kicked around the idea of buying the Economy Plus access option to “round out” the benefits. However, after doing the math I just couldn’t justify the cost. Maybe UAL is counting on the “impulse purchaser” for these products (e.g., once you start thinking through the options for a bit you realize that they’re really not worth it!).