Without turning this site into FlyerTalk.com (where there do happen to be more than a few Bears, some under the same handle, others different identities), some perspective on the baggage fee issue.
1. We're up to three of the 6 US-based major "network" airlines with this fee now. United (UA), US Airways (US), and Delta (DL). At this point that's a critical mass, so you should expect the other two network carriers, Northwest (NW) and American (AA) to follow suit soon. When it was only UA, maybe it wouldn't have flown, but now it's only time until everybody is doing some variant of it. Here's a forum thread from there
talking about Delta doing it. There's some ski-trip-specific posts a few pages in. Here's the thread
about US' similar fee.
United is at least waiving it for everyone on international flights. At least for now.
2. If anything, these fees might be reason to become more
loyal to one airline and its alliance partners, rather than go into the "I'm never flying XYZ cheap-bastich airlines again". You might have to pay $25 for the 2nd 50 pound bag on United. I can check 3 70-lb bags on United free, because I have "Star Alliance Gold" status with them as a Premier Executive flying them and their partners at least 50,000 miles/year. (Actually I fly them more, but you "only" need the 50K/year level to get the "Gold" benefits). At the 25K/year miles level, you still get 2 free bags at 50 pounds.
Yeah, it sucks if you can't fly that much. (Of course, sometimes flying that much sucks anyhow.) But I hear too many people who fly UA on one trip, NW on another, Delta on another, Frontier on another, Southwest on another, and JetBlue on yet another. Probably do fly 25,000 miles in a year but spread around so that they are "nobody" on 6 airlines.
You can spread your flying around UA, US, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Swiss, and about 15 other Star Alliance airlines, credit all those flights ONLY to your United number (do NOT open Frequent Flyer accounts with all those other airlines - you'll be wasting your miles.)
Delta, Continental, Northwest are all in another alliance called Skyteam. Fly 25,000 miles a year on any of the, all credited to just ONE program (I use NW, you might use DL or CO), and you get "Skyteam Elite" status along with Continental Silver or NW Silver or DL Silver. As for Europe ski trips, KLM, Air France, Alitalia and several others are in that same alliance.
So if you are in the situation where you might do a couple of near-transcontinental ski trips a year, a few business trips, and a few other family visit/vacation trips, it might make sense to keep them within one alliance so that you get some "status" and thus a number of benefits. Including being exempt from some of these fees.
It's kind of like living in a ski town. We find ways to ski for free or for much lower cost, while the visitors pay the full $89 lift ticket price. There are angles to be played in this game.