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United Airlines

United Still Charges for Basic Economy Carry-Ons

United Still Charges for Basic Economy Carry-Ons
Jennifer Billock

United Airlines is taking a stand and, unlike competitor American Airlines, will not be reversing its policy that basic economy travelers have to pay for a carry-on bag; Delta Air Lines also offers basic economy travelers a free carry-on, and the airline has since the fare class was first introduced.

American Airlines, citing falling revenue, recently decided to reverse their policy of not allowing basic economy travelers to have free carry-on bags. United, though, is taking a stand, and refusing to make that change. Passengers will still have to pay to bring a carry-on bag.

“We’re happy with where we’re at,” said Andrew Nocella, United’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, during an earnings conference call reported on by USA Today. Nocella noted that the policy is working fine as it is.

Delta Air Lines, like American, allows a free carry-on for basic economy travelers, but the airline has since the fare class was introduced, and has no intention of changing policy.

Ultimately, United may end up losing customers over this fee, like American did—and also thanks to a confusing policy regarding basic economy check-in. Essentially, if you’re checking a bag, you’re allowed to use the website or app to check in for your flight—but if you’re a standard basic economy traveler without a bag to check, you’re forced to check in at the airport.

Some travelers have tweeted their displeasure about the often-frustrating policy:

“I should not be prevented from On-Line check-in simply because I do not have a bag to check (for a $25 fee),” Twitter user Lynn Roberts posted. “I am making a one day trip that does not require luggage. Please re-consider this policy: No baggage requires airport check-in. #TrustMe #NoBaggage #TooManyFees”.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (3)


  1. Grog

    October 17, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Reaching new lows: United makes even Lufthansa’s economy product look generous.

  2. chavala

    October 18, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Love the photo that goes along with this article. That guy is really upset he can’t carry on his huge rollerbag!

  3. Jerseyguy

    October 18, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Basic economy was fine when they introduced it on routes with ridiculously low fares from ULCCs but now it seems to be on all fares. In other words means basic service like seat assignments and the ability to pay their rediculously high change fees now is an add-on. I fly EWR to AUS a couple times a year my nonstop options are UA and WN. Why would I pay extra via UAs basic economy upcharge when I can get a better value than regular economy on WN for the same price as UA basic economy.

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