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United's Basic Economy - Discussion, Q&A, ...

United's Basic Economy - Discussion, Q&A, ...

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Old Jun 24, 19, 9:30 am   -   Wikipost
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Important Note: these fares became available 21 Feb 2017 for MSP for travel beginning 18 Apr 2017. More markets were added 19 April 2017 for travel starting 9 May 2017.

Related thread: Basic Economy Airport and Plane Experiences (First or Second Hand)

If you booked before the dates above, you did not have a BE fare. If purchased on united.com you will see a warning like:


4. MileagePlus members will earn full Premier qualifying dollars, 50% Premier qualifying miles and 0.5 Premier qualifying segments for each flight, as well as lifetime miles and toward the four-segment minimum.



Link to UA's description of how these fares will work: Basic Economy.

Here are the key facts:
  • No seat assignments until check-in. Seats will be assigned by the system and cannot be changed.
    *NEW* When purchasing a Basic Economy ticket, you will not receive a complimentary seat assignment but may be able to purchase advance seat assignments during booking and up until check-in opens. If you don’t purchase an advance seat assignment, your seat will be automatically assigned to you prior to boarding, and you won't be able to change your seat once it's been assigned.
  • No guarantee of adjacent seats with companions
  • No voluntary ticket changes after 24 hour purchase period
  • Carry on limited to 1 personal item unless the customer is a MP Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance *G
  • Customers ineligible for carry-on who bring one to the gate will be charged a $25 convenience fee to gate-check in addition to standard baggage fees (source: @united twitter)
  • Customers will not be eligible for Economy Plus or premium cabin upgrades. This includes all forms of upgrades (CPU,supported or purchased). Likewise for E+ access (elite or purchased).
  • Customers will board in the last boarding group (currently Group 5) unless the customer is a MP Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance *G
  • Companions on same PNR will have same boarding group and carryon if one on the PNR has a waiver
  • No combinability with regular economy fares or partner carriers. Interline travel is not permitted.
  • Tickets will earn RDMs (based on fare and status), PQMs (50% of distance), PQSs (0.5), PQDs, in addition it will count for minimum 4 segment and lifetime miles (New as of Dec 2018)
  • Basic Economy tickets will use booking code 'N'
  • Online check-in only with paid checked bag, otherwise need to see a United representative to verify the onboard bag allowance and receive a boarding pass.
In air, passengers will receive the same standard economy inflight amenities including United Economy dining options, inflight entertainment, United Wi-Fi (availability depending on the flight)

To aviod domestic BE fares
ITA Matrix ~bc=N

Google Flights -- select 1 Carry-on bag
related threads
New UA/*A TATL -LGT Economy fare - no free first bag, no changes/upgrades allowed

Benefit impact of restricted economy fares on UA Elites (Basic Econ, -LGT, Light Econ

Pre-announcement speculation thread (now closed) New "Budget Economy" fares

United's Basic Economy - Discussion, Q&A, ... {Archive}
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Old Jul 11, 18, 12:37 am
  #211  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Does check in time matter for basic economy?

First BE experience so wondering if it is better to check in earlier or is seat assignment just random? For example if non middle seats are available am I more likely to get them if I check in at earliest time?
Since apparently I can't change seat after assignment just wondering what I should know to maximize chance of getting a decent seat.
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Old Jul 11, 18, 7:11 pm
  #212  
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Originally Posted by estnet View Post
First BE experience so wondering if it is better to check in earlier or is seat assignment just random? For example if non middle seats are available am I more likely to get them if I check in at earliest time?
Since apparently I can't change seat after assignment just wondering what I should know to maximize chance of getting a decent seat.
The one time that I flew on a BE fare and did not select my seat at the time that I purchased the ticket, I checked in exactly 24 hours in advance. I was assigned a window seat a few rows behind the window exits - low 20's - on a B739. The guy in the middle seat bought his ticket the day before and paid a hefty premium for a last minute ticket.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 8:28 am
  #213  
 
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Just a quick note on the BE pricing differential with regular economy. The 2017 data points are on ORD-EWR flights on Monday 8/21, and the the 2018 are n ORD-EWR flights on Monday 8/20.

In 2017, I recorded BE differentials as high as $35, and then they settled in at $15 during the time I was tracking prices before I booked. In 2018, the differential has consistently been $25 when offered.



Also, regarding the idea that BE fares are always cheaper, back in May I booked a regular economy ticket for a flight in August. I looked today at prices on the same flight, and I found that a BE Ticket now costs more than my regular economy ticket. So it it possible that there will be someone on that flight with a BE fare that paid more than I did for a regular economy ticket.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 8:34 am
  #214  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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With all of these fare types I am getting very confused. In the past (if memory serves me correctly), selecting a Basic Economy fare as a 1K would still give me seat selection, free bags, etc. When I tried to book a fare the other day this is what I got - the fare was labeled "Economy (first bag charge/no changes allowed)". I was logged in to my account at the time.

Is this considered Basic Economy as well? It was booking me into L and T fares.

That said, baggage charges showed $0 and I was able to select seats. However, I was not able to upgrade myself (which was also stated as a restriction for this fare).

Thoughts?

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Old Jul 12, 18, 8:45 am
  #215  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Originally Posted by sfsouthbay View Post
With all of these fare types I am getting very confused. In the past (if memory serves me correctly), selecting a Basic Economy fare as a 1K would still give me seat selection, free bags, etc. When I tried to book a fare the other day this is what I got - the fare was labeled "Economy (first bag charge/no changes allowed)". I was logged in to my account at the time.
A 1K on Basic Economy does not get seat selection.

Originally Posted by sfsouthbay View Post
Is this considered Basic Economy as well? It was booking me into L and T fares.
This is not BE. This is Economy Light, a new product that's currently only available TATL.

Originally Posted by sfsouthbay View Post
However, I was not able to upgrade myself (which was also stated as a restriction for this fare).
For a 1K, the only disadvantages of Light fares are that they can't be upgraded and that you can't change them at all -- they're "use it or lose it." Non-status, non-credit-cardmembers get a first bag charge, but that wouldn't apply to you.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 8:46 am
  #216  
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Originally Posted by sfsouthbay View Post
Is this considered Basic Economy as well? It was booking me into L and T fares.
Basic Economy books into N. If you have an L or a T, you do not have a BE fare.

Agreed UA's descriptives are not very clear. And it doesn't matter whether you're logged in when you search - the descriptives are the same for everyone, so you may see verbiage which does not apply to you.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 9:13 am
  #217  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Basic Economy books into N. If you have an L or a T, you do not have a BE fare.

Agreed UA's descriptives are not very clear. And it doesn't matter whether you're logged in when you search - the descriptives are the same for everyone, so you may see verbiage which does not apply to you.
Yeah... that's why it's so confusing. I did read the Wiki on BE and I realize it's the N fare, but still have to ask... Even the UA customer service rep agreed with me.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
A 1K on Basic Economy does not get seat selection.


This is not BE. This is Economy Light, a new product that's currently only available TATL.


For a 1K, the only disadvantages of Light fares are that they can't be upgraded and that you can't change them at all -- they're "use it or lose it." Non-status, non-credit-cardmembers get a first bag charge, but that wouldn't apply to you.
Thank you. That definitely clears things up. I also did see that I would still get full PQMs/PQDs (and assuming lifetime miles).
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Old Jul 12, 18, 9:52 am
  #218  
 
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Originally Posted by JohnneeO View Post
Also, regarding the idea that BE fares are always cheaper, back in May I booked a regular economy ticket for a flight in August. I looked today at prices on the same flight, and I found that a BE Ticket now costs more than my regular economy ticket. So it it possible that there will be someone on that flight with a BE fare that paid more than I did for a regular economy ticket.
The way fares (and revenue management) works, I'd argue that comparing a "today" fare (e.g. the BE fare you saw) versus a "yesterday" fare i(e.g. what you booked) s not a valid comparison -- the valid comparison is "today" economy to "today" BE or "yesterday" economy to "yesterday" BE...eg. the fares available to someone making a purchase decision in that instant.

Searching lowest available fare, I would expect virtually all fares (J, Y, and BE) to be more expensive the closer in you get so someone who bought as "last minute" BE fare (still somewhat surprised that RM is allowing cannibalization like that) is paying more than an advance purchase Economy ticket, but less than someone buying a regular economy ticket on the same day.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 9:52 am
  #219  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
For a 1K, the only disadvantages of Light fares are that they can't be upgraded and that you can't change them at all -- they're "use it or lose it." Non-status, non-credit-cardmembers get a first bag charge, but that wouldn't apply to you.
A warning: the disclaimer states the first bag charge is waived based on premier status or card when checking in on UA/UAX metal only. So if first flight of any direction is on a partner, be wary about when checking in with them. i just did a dummy booking to FRA with the outbound starting on UA and the return starting with an AC flight. The checked bag tool, even when I changed it to note the price for a 1K, indicates no fee for checked bags on the outbound, and $60 for the first bag on the return. I didn’t actually finish the booking, of course, but I would fully expect to be charged on check in for the return.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 10:28 am
  #220  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
A warning: the disclaimer states the first bag charge is waived based on premier status or card when checking in on UA/UAX metal only. So if first flight of any direction is on a partner, be wary about when checking in with them.
Good point. Cardmembers will pay the bag fee if checking in with a partner airline. 1K should get one free bag (for *G status), but would have to pay for the second bag.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 11:47 am
  #221  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Good point. Cardmembers will pay the bag fee if checking in with a partner airline. 1K should get one free bag (for *G status), but would have to pay for the second bag.
maybe, but I’d wait for real-life evidence first.

LH has light fares currently, where *G don’t even get a free bag. Id be conservative and guess this is the case for an international light fare too, absent of real evidence. Again, the checked bag tool showed a checked bag fee for a first flight with AC, so it’s very possible they’d charge it. Wording do the disclaimer appeared to me to be referring to both Premier status and cardholders where the waivers was for UA only. So I’d say YMMV, for now.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 1:55 pm
  #222  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
LH has light fares currently, where *G don’t even get a free bag. Id be conservative and guess this is the case for an international light fare too, absent of real evidence.
LH currently sells its own Economy Light fares on TATL sectors, with a baggage allowance of 0 for the ticket, but allows +1 piece for *G. This is likely to be degraded in the future, but for now the policy is pretty clear.
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Old Jul 14, 18, 1:47 am
  #223  
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So DL management asserted in yesterday's Q2 earnins call that UA (and AA's) punitive BE fares are a "contributing factor" to DL's better revenue performance.

Delta President: United and American are Losing Business Because of Harsh Basic Economy
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Old Jul 26, 18, 9:03 am
  #224  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
So DL management asserted in yesterday's Q2 earnins call that UA (and AA's) punitive BE fares are a "contributing factor" to DL's better revenue performance.

Delta President: United and American are Losing Business Because of Harsh Basic Economy
https://t.co/QYGqsTw7w0

AA is pulling back from the carry-on restriction, validating DL's impression
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Old Jul 26, 18, 9:17 am
  #225  
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Originally Posted by smxflyer View Post
https://t.co/QYGqsTw7w0

AA is pulling back from the carry-on restriction, validating DL's impression
Interesting. Unusually candid admission by Parker that these fares are costing them market share:

Speaking during American’s second quarter earnings call Thursday, Parker said the airline’s Basic Economy fare had become uncompetitive, and implied that American has been losing market share to Southwest, which allows two free checked bags. Parker said “there’s a big airline” that doesn’t charge for carry-on bags — actually Southwest doesn’t charge for carry-ons or two checked bags —and that made American’s Basic Economy fare became uncompetitive. He likewise mentioned that when travelers search Google for flights, and use a filter to indicate they intend to bring a carry-on bag, then American does not appear in search results because the fare increases by a $20 bag fee.
I would imagine UA can't hold out long as the only carrier not allowing a carry-on.

And ya gotta love how the market is working - googleflights now provides accurate information about the real "price" of these fares, and consumers choose to buy elsewhere. (If you select, "Overhead bin access included," UA and AA will drop below DL, AS, and B6 in the search results, because their BE fares will be excluded.)
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