Do balled-up socks fit best in your underarms, or should you just do the whole swallow-it-in-a-balloon trick like you saw on Cops? Well, you may soon be inclined to find out, gentle traveler. Both United and US Airways have announced plans to charge $15 for first checked bags. And really, the only thing shocking here is that it took them so long to catch up with American Airlines, who set the trend for $15 1st-bag charges last month.

We imagine this will have nightmarish affects on TSA checkpoints (where liquids and gels were never fully mastered), as passengers attempt to dodge new fees with stuffed-to-capacity carry-ons. Then there's the little matter of collecting payment for checking bags, which --even with the option to pay online-- is bound to make checking-in a tad longer.

For United passengers, the new rule applies to all tickets purchased (starting today) for travel on or after August 18, and for US Airways tickets on or after July 9.

Also on the climb, United's fee for 3 or more checked bags has increased from $100 to $125, and oversized/heavy items from $200 to $250.

However, the rules are different if you're an elite level frequent flyer, or flying in first class.

No more free soda

US Airways will start charging $2 for non-alcoholic beverages, such as soda and juice, in August. Probably the days of free drinks in economy class are numbered.

*Update: Budget Travel has posted an interview with American Airlines VP Mark DuPont in which he tackles the $15 bag fee, and what passengers can expect when checking in from here on out.

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