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Perks survive in United’s new barebones Basic Economy

December 5, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59If you want to be last to board the aircraft, and be forbidden use the plane’s overhead lockers, United Airlines’ new Basic Economy is for you.

The new class, to be introduced next year, will exclude advance seat booking or any flight changes. Seats will be assigned automatically, so if you are travelling with someone special, you probably won’t be seated together.

United is not the first to offer this sort of barebones economy option on US domestic routes. Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant and Delta have similar types of fare, pared back to be as cheap as possible.


Perks survive in United’s new barebones Basic Economy

Despite the restrictions, United passengers will enjoy the same United Economy cabin experience and services as other passengers, including dining options, Wi-Fi and inflight entertainment.

Basic Economy fares will be available in select markets, “which are subject to change”, United says.

“When Basic Economy is available, it will be displayed as an option on the flight search results page on along with the rest of our ticketing and seating options.

“You’ll be able to book Basic Economy tickets the same ways that you book other United tickets, including through, the United app, the United Customer Contact Centre, a travel agency or other online booking tools.”

So the travel agent option is still there, though few fliers are likely to use an agent to book anything so basic.

Baggage policies in the new class are strict. Passengers are allowed to bring a small personal item aboard, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) or less.

“Full-size carry-on bags are not allowed unless you’re a Premier member, a primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or a Star Alliance Gold member. Basic Economy fares have the same checked baggage policies as regular Economy tickets.”

United doesn’t charge for carry-on bags in the new class, unlike some of its competitors, but Basic Economy will make United the first major US airline to ban roller bags and other full-size carry-ons.

Basic Economy passengers wanting to check in a bag must pay United’s regular fee of USD 25 for one bag and USD 35 for a second bag.

Other rules:

  • Carry-on bags are limited to one personal item, unless the customer is a MileagePlus Premier member or a member of other qualifying programs, such as Star Alliance Gold.
  • There will be no voluntary ticket changes except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy.
  • MileagePlus program members will earn redeemable award miles; however they will not earn Premier qualifying credit (miles, segments, or dollars), no lifetime miles, and no contribution to four segment minimum.
  • Customers will not be eligible for Economy Plus or premium cabin upgrades.
  • Customers will board in the last boarding group (currently Group 5) unless a MileagePlus Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance Gold member.
  • There is no combinability with regular Economy fares or partner carriers. Interline travel is not permitted.

Written by Peter Needham

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