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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 donít 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 26, 18, 9:27 am
  #226  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Interesting. Unusually candid admission by Parker that these fares are costing them market share:



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.)
A heck of a lot of chicanery would disappear if fare comparison tools would do that more often.

I recently searched LAX-Edingurgh and WOW was priced at $420 r/t, with DL at $780. But if you factor in WOW's fees, the DL fare may actually be cheaper.
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Old Jul 26, 18, 9:45 am
  #227  
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
A heck of a lot of chicanery would disappear if fare comparison tools would do that more often.

I recently searched LAX-Edingurgh and WOW was priced at $420 r/t, with DL at $780. But if you factor in WOW's fees, the DL fare may actually be cheaper.
Yes. The airlines pitch unbundling of services as providing "consumer choice" but it's really about deceptive sales practices. Just like hotel resort fees.
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Old Jul 26, 18, 10:07 am
  #228  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Yes. The airlines pitch unbundling of services as providing "consumer choice" but it's really about deceptive sales practices. Just like hotel resort fees.
There's a critical difference in that hotel resort fees aren't optional.

There exist people who would rather pay $20 less and not bring a carry-on, just like there are people who'd rather pay $25 less and not check a bag, even if those people aren't you. That's not true of resort fees. Even if, initially, the "without bag" price matches the legacy price, eventually the market will bring it down again.

In my mind there are three problems:

(1) Different airlines including/excluding various services in their sticker price is a search engine problem, one that Google is going to fix shortly. "I'm bringing one checked bag and one carry-on, I'm United Silver and have the AAdvantage credit card, I'm purchasing from a Canadian POS, I'd pay $50 extra to fly out of IAD instead of DCA and I'd pay a $100 premium for a non-stop. If F is less than $150 more than Y and not more than $450 total, I'd prefer that, otherwise Y. Please show me the best flights and the prices I'll pay."

(2) Reduced competition through mergers slows down the "eventually the market will bring it down again" process. And yet,

(3) The market is fractured enough the average non-savvy consumer can't keep track and makes a non-optimal decision (buying up to regular Y on Delta because they want a carry-on, not realizing it's included because they flew United BE recently) or they get screwed (bringing a carry-on to a Spirit flight and paying $100 at the gate).
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Old Jul 26, 18, 10:15 am
  #229  
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
There's a critical difference in that hotel resort fees aren't optional.
At the most basic level, it is exactly the same practice: using a deceptive "teaser" price that advantages your product vis-a-vis the competition in online search results.

And in fact, UA and AA have both reiterated they don't want consumers to buy BE fares - they want to upsell them to the higher fare, which was not disclosed initially. So in this sense the BE penalty is exactly like a resort fee.

Finally, the resort fee is in fact "optional" in the sense the consumer can choose not to book the hotel room once the "all in" price has been disclosed. The problem is that the deception has already occurred, and the industry knows that a certain percentage of consumers will not pay attention to the details once they've decided a certain product is cheaper than the alternatives.
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Old Jul 26, 18, 6:31 pm
  #230  
 
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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
I posted part of this in the 3Q thread, but nearly 10 times Delta used the phrase " industry-leading product" singling out the extra width in the seats in specific on the call. Clearly they intend to - and have started to advertise - how their product is better.

To give some color, here was the entire exchange (thanks to Seeking Alpha which posts the transcripts"

Duane Pfennigwerth Hi. Thanks. As you watch how the rest of the industry has implemented basic economy so far, have you detected any positive share gain versus some of the more punitive implementations of it, no carry-on, et cetera? Any sense the customers really don't like it?
Glen Hauenstein Those are not a very, very difficult things to isolate and I think you know what we look at is our relative revenue performance in aggregate and are we supplying the right products and services that people want to buy from us and I think as the quarter unfolds over the next couple weeks here, as everybody announces the details of their earnings, you will see that we, I think, took another step function improvement in aggregate and produced the highest level of revenue premiums we have in our history. So it's very hard to isolate which individual piece contributed to the whole brand impact, but I think that's certainly a contributing factor.
Ed Bastian Part of that, Duane, also is the net promoter scores that we see and mentioned our domestic net promoter scores were up three points year-over-year, which is huge when you measure net promoter scores to drive an improvement at an already good base of further improvement. So clearly, customers of all classes are preferring Delta in increasing numbers.


Delta said over and over again that relatively higher quality products was helping both their NPS and profitability. I doubt Kirby (aka Smisik II) gets the message, but Parker seems to have picked up part of the thread....

p.s. and funny to be posting this, having just flown AS vs DL yesterday because DL wanted $15 for BE on SFO-SEA on a last minute relatively high value ticket. I was annoyed enough not to play the game.... That said, BE is not as bad on DL as you get status credit and a bad. What you really loose is an upgrade (to C+/F).
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Old Jul 26, 18, 8:18 pm
  #231  
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
That said, BE is not as bad on DL as you get status credit and a bad. What you really loose is an upgrade (to C+/F).
What's a "bad"? Unsure/unclear what word was meant here...

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Old Jul 26, 18, 9:00 pm
  #232  
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Originally Posted by DELee View Post
What's a "bad"? Unsure/unclear what word was meant here...

David
Probably a typo. Should have been "bag".
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Old Jul 26, 18, 10:34 pm
  #233  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
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.)
Indeed - gotta love the market vs. these morons that make decisions in their silo. While I liked DL's implementation of BE as a non-elite, now that I have status I find myself checking seat maps more curiously to see if its worth paying for Main Cabin based off my chance for a decent upgrade (and no, C+ is not an upgrade in my book) or just stay in Basic. Being Houston based I spend more time on 2-2 Delta Connection flights than anything else so Basic really doesn't deprive me of much. I can buy DL drink chits for much less money than the fare delta between Basic and Main and chance the upgrade.
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Old Jul 27, 18, 5:03 am
  #234  
 
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Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
No PQMs, Boarding Group 5 (unless you have status or CC), seats not together if multiperson itinerary, no upgrade, no E+.

Wonder what will happen if only E+ seats remain.

I hate that Basic Economy exists but on the face of it, it seems to be exactly what you'd expect, no better, no worse
Here is the kicker. I signed up for the UA Exllorer card free for the first year,2 Club Passes $100 credit after first purchase,40000 bonus miles as well as free checked bag and Group 2 Boarding. Then its $95 a year. So lets say 100 Basic Economy Passengers saved $50-$100 on a flight and they take 6 flights a year. The $95 pays for itself with the 2 UA passess and free bags plus priority boarding.
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Old Jul 27, 18, 9:53 am
  #235  
 
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Originally Posted by dilanesp View Post
A heck of a lot of chicanery would disappear if fare comparison tools would do that more often.
It blows my mind that nobody has launched a price comparison tool with a full personal profile.

Let me save that I have status on X airline and the credit card for Y airline, and that I care about W amenity but am indifferent about Z. And then show me the results.

Why do I have to manually filter every time?
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Old Jul 27, 18, 11:15 am
  #236  
 
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Just as evidence that UA does occasionally use BE to compete with ULCC or fill empty planes, and not just as a sticker-price gimmick, today I bought a BE fare ORD-SFO

AA and WN non-stop were all $282. Connecting on DL was $132 or $282. Most UA flights were $282, one flight (which was at an ok time for me) was $111 Basic, $282 Regular. Snapped it up and paid $10 for a window seat. Otherwise probably would have connected on DL or flown WN (MDW is closer for me). UA offered a $161 discount and got a sale from a price-sensitive customer, presumably without cannibalizing any business traveler revenue.

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Old Jul 27, 18, 2:31 pm
  #237  
 
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United Basic Economy ticket using Explorer Card Benifit

Hello
I Just booked Domestic Basic Economy ticket for Me (Primary Chase explorer card holder) and Family. What kind of benefit i get from Baggage? Do i get to check in free Baggage? Or Do i get to take carry on Free?

Thanks in Advance
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Old Jul 27, 18, 4:05 pm
  #238  
 
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You get the normal checked bag waiver. The card benefit does not extend to carry on - you're still subject to the BE limitation of one small item. I'm assuming you have no United status. If you are any level of Premier, the BE carry-on limit is waived.

American's just announced a change to their BE carry-on policy effective Sept 5th. Remains to seen if UA will match AA's (and Delta's) more generous policy. I don't think UA can stick with their policy for much longer: https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...ons/840313002/

Edit: my bad - as cardholder, you get boarding group 2, which circumvents the BE BG5 limit.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Jul 27, 18 at 4:18 pm
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Old Jul 27, 18, 4:14 pm
  #239  
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Originally Posted by awesome75 View Post
Hello
I Just booked Domestic Basic Economy ticket for Me (Primary Chase explorer card holder) and Family. What kind of benefit i get from Baggage? Do i get to check in free Baggage? Or Do i get to take carry on Free?

Thanks in Advance
You will get your free check bags and the full size carry on (theoretically companions are not eligible but believe they will not be prevented).
You will also be boarding group 2.

Full-sized carry-on bags are not permitted
You're not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you're a MileagePlus Premier member or companion traveling on the same reservation, the primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star Alliance™ Gold member.
You will still earning awardmiles but no elite miles, And you will no be able to select your seating.
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Old Jul 27, 18, 4:35 pm
  #240  
 
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Interesting observation in terms of paid seat assignments on BE:

Flying on an old non-slimline 753 tomorrow and when I paid the $10 for a window seat, I was only offered window seats that did not include anything in or near exit rows that are still marked as economy seats. Namely: 33 A/F and 22 B/C/D/E were all blocked off from my selection even though they were open when I tried to move into them.

I guess IT probably marks specific seats that BE passengers are not allowed to select even if they pay?
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