Effective with tickets purchased on February 4th and after, non-elite flyers purchasing a non-refundable ticket will pay an extra $25 service fee to check a second bag on all United Airlines domestic flights. This change goes into effect on flights after May 5, 2008.
So if you buy your ticket today, and fly before May 5, there is no change in policy.
I like the change. People bring too much stuff when they fly. It will probably be toughest on infrequent, unfamiliar vacation travelers as they are the ones most likely to get hit with the fee, and most likely the least experienced in packing efficiently. The more experienced Elite level flyer or business traveler buying a refundable ticket is exempt from the changes, and in my humble opinion, probably doesn’t bring more than one bag anyway.
After the bugs are worked out and the public gets familiar with the change, I see it ultimately as a good thing.
Now if we could only get people to follow the “one carry on” rule, maybe the bins would not be so packed.
Here is the link to the notice of change at United.com