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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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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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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 Aug 2, 18, 9:21 am
  #271  
 
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Wonder when UA will fold and follow AA in resurrecting the full carryon bag allowance, but specifically for BE customers...

Last edited by MrAndy1369; Aug 2, 18 at 9:29 am
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Old Aug 2, 18, 9:45 am
  #272  
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Do they actually enforce the BE carry-on?
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Old Aug 2, 18, 9:53 am
  #273  
 
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
Do they actually enforce the BE carry-on?
Emphatically, yes. Anyone in boarding group 5 has to stop by the ticket counter, where they'll be asked to check any bag that appears to be too big to qualify as a personal item.

The gate agents will mention "no full-size carry-on for Group 5" as part of the boarding announcements; I don't know that I've ever seen them have to check a bag, though, presumably due to the ticket counter interaction.
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Old Aug 6, 18, 3:46 pm
  #274  
 
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I don't know if this has been asked before but I couldn't find anything. What happens if I buy an international basic Economy Ticket Europe-US first leg (FRA-YOW) operated by Air Canada, YOW-ORD operated by UA. AC allows regular carry-on, UA only personal item. For checked bag most significant carrier rule would apply, but how does it work with the carry-on?
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Old Aug 6, 18, 4:01 pm
  #275  
 
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Originally Posted by Kapi1904 View Post
I don't know if this has been asked before but I couldn't find anything. What happens if I buy an international basic Economy Ticket Europe-US first leg (FRA-YOW) operated by Air Canada, YOW-ORD operated by UA. AC allows regular carry-on, UA only personal item. For checked bag most significant carrier rule would apply, but how does it work with the carry-on?
UA isn't selling Basic Economy internationally, so this is moot. They're selling Light fares, which include the use of the overhead bin.

To answer your questions, though -- (a) the Most Significant Carrier rule never applies on flights to/from the US; (b) even if it did, there's no agreement on cabin baggage. If you could buy the ticket that you mentioned, you'd have no overhead bin access on UA.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 9:34 am
  #276  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Emphatically, yes. Anyone in boarding group 5 has to stop by the ticket counter, where they'll be asked to check any bag that appears to be too big to qualify as a personal item.

The gate agents will mention "no full-size carry-on for Group 5" as part of the boarding announcements; I don't know that I've ever seen them have to check a bag, though, presumably due to the ticket counter interaction.
What if you use your mobile boarding pass to try and board with an earlier zone. Does the ticket reader have a special beep for BE passengers? Do the agents look at the phone screen before scanning?
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Old Sep 4, 18, 10:05 am
  #277  
 
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Originally Posted by freqflyerbmw View Post
What if you use your mobile boarding pass to try and board with an earlier zone. Does the ticket reader have a special beep for BE passengers? Do the agents look at the phone screen before scanning?
The scanner always beeps when you try to board out of order. The agent can override the beep, and will generally do so when boarding with a companion in an earlier boarding group, pre-boarding, etc., but the message they'll see is "Boarding Group 5 -- Please Wait," so any agent who's paying attention is going to know what's going on.

Also, there are multiple reports that you cannot get a mobile boarding pass when flying BE unless you're checking a bag. (I don't know if this has changed recently). That's what "Anyone in boarding group 5 has to stop by the ticket counter" meant in my message.

Heck, last night at ORD, the person at the entrance to the security line (responsible for making sure people are in the correct line, etc.) sent a woman back to the gate, saying "You're in Group 5; you can't have anything with wheels."
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Old Sep 4, 18, 11:43 am
  #278  
 
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Thanks. It is honestly my fault for not reading closely. I have booked BE with Delta in the past and they don't restrict full size carry on luggage. I've switched my plan to pack a weekender that can fit under my seat to avoid any stress at the airport. I'm just glad I figured this out before showing up and having to pay $$$ to check it.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 2:35 pm
  #279  
 
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I have a buddy in a wheelchair and he went ahead and bought a UNITED Basic Economy Ticket without asking me first (as I would have advised him to spend a few bucks more and buy a regular economy ticket).

He is flying in five days and called up UNITED to ask how it works being disabled and on a Basic Economy Ticket and the agent (he said had a thick foreign accent) seemed absolutely clueless, saying something like generally it is this, but being disabled, I would assume that you would not be able to have your wheelchair and it would need to be checked at the ticket counter rather than at the gate and that he is not eligible for the ADA seat (which sounds almost illegal) etc..

I have never flown a Basic Economy ticket, so I truly have no idea how to help my friend, does anyone where know how being disabled in a wheelchair works with a Basic Economy ticket?

He will also need the aisle chair as he can barely walk more than 10 steps or so.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 2:49 pm
  #280  
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Originally Posted by kmersh View Post
.... I have never flown a Basic Economy ticket, so I truly have no idea how to help my friend, does anyone where know how being disabled in a wheelchair works with a Basic Economy ticket?
....
He will also need the aisle chair as he can barely walk more than 10 steps or so.
Have your friend contact the Accessibility folks for this and all future travel
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
....
UA does block some seats for special needs and they are not released for others until check-in
It is best to arrange this in advance and not wait till you get to the gate -- it gets much more difficult at the gate.

For more on working with UA concerning your request see Customers with disabilities

and in particular
Seating accommodations for customers with disabilities

To contact the United's 24-hour Accessibility Desk call 1-800-228-2744.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 5:10 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Have your friend contact the Accessibility folks for this and all future travel
Awesome! You guys rock!!!
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Old Sep 5, 18, 1:07 pm
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So my buddy called the disability line and according to him it was a mixed bag.

The agent (he did not comment on their accent or lack their of this time) first said that she is powerless to do anything with Basic Economy, but after my buddy referenced the info above, she said that she had to get a Supervisor to assist.

The Supervisor first admonished my buddy for buying a Basic Economy and said that she is sick and tired folks buying Basic Economy only to call and ask for essentially a regular economy ticket. After admonishing him, she asked about his disability and he explained that he is essentially wheelchair bound and will need the aisle chair to get down the aisle to his seat and a movable arm rest would be a plus.

He understands that this his wife cannot sit next to him and that is fine, once he is in hit seat, he can manage just fine, the agent said that he can bring his wheelchair the gate as always and that they will help him transfer to an aisle chair and at which point the baggage handlers will take his wheelchair and place it under the plane (as is usual).

She further explained that he will board early (which is normal for him) to accommodate the transfer to the aisle chair and any assistance in getting to his seat. She said that essentially the Basic Economy restrictions of boarding in Group 5 will not apply to him. She advised my buddy that he should let the Gate Agent know as well, so that she could facilitate the early boarding. She then assigned him an ADA seat and placed his wife next to him (which she added that she did not have to do) and he thanked her for that.

Lastly, she added that technically he is entitled to a small personal item only, but that in practice she did not know since he was boarding early if that would be enforced or not.

He said, if need be, we will pay to check our bags, such is life, he thanked for her time and that was that.

As he said to me, I could have lived without the snark, but beyond that UNITED did what is right, so he was happy.
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Old Sep 7, 18, 7:46 am
  #283  
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Been a while since I've flown United, now coming back since I'm once again UA Silver post-Marriott/SPG merger.

I have an itin coming up with myself plus 3 others. If I buy BE on a single PNR, is that 4 full-sized overhead bin bags plus 4 checked bags? Or some lesser number like 2+2?

If I do *not* buy BE, is it possible that all four of us can select E+ seats at check-in, or is that limited to Silver + 1?

It's a Saturday morning flight...probably won't be full...that's the only reason I've even considering BE.
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Old Sep 7, 18, 8:07 am
  #284  
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Been a while since I've flown United, now coming back since I'm once again UA Silver post-Marriott/SPG merger.

I have an itin coming up with myself plus 3 others. If I buy BE on a single PNR, is that 4 full-sized overhead bin bags plus 4 checked bags? Or some lesser number like 2+2?
Assuming you are on the same reservation here. I believe the checked bag benefit is up to 9 companions, and the full-sized carry-on extends to everyone who gets Boarding Group 2, which should also include up to 9 same-PNR companions. If their boarding passes don't say BG2 for whatever reason, I would not expect that they would be able to board with you or bring a carry-on. So check in at T-24 just to confirm and have an alternate plan.

If I do *not* buy BE, is it possible that all four of us can select E+ seats at check-in, or is that limited to Silver + 1?
That's just Silver + 1.

It's a Saturday morning flight...probably won't be full...that's the only reason I've even considering BE.
Do not have any expectation that you will sit together. If there are seats together you'll get assigned together. More likely you will end up in scattered middles.
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Old Sep 7, 18, 8:44 am
  #285  
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After looking at the seatmap, there are a *lot* of rows of Economy Plus and surprisingly few of E-. (I'm used to AA where it's like 3 rows of MCE on many narrowbodies.)

Leaning towards buying regular economy...the question I then have is whether I need to split into two PNRs with 2 pax each to enable the possibility of E+. We definitely don't need four checked bags...it'll be zero to 2.
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