Can ctrip sell a Basic Economy ticket?

Old Aug 30, 17, 7:40 am
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Can ctrip sell a Basic Economy ticket?

For instance, I am looking at buying a United ticket within the USA, but on ctrip (China travel agency...like kayak). I've clicked everywhere and cannot figure out if it's an economy basic fare or a regular economy fare.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 7:54 am
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Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
For instance, I am looking at buying a United ticket within the USA, but on ctrip (China travel agency...like kayak). I've clicked everywhere and cannot figure out if it's an economy basic fare or a regular economy fare.
Look for the fare rules r fare class. If they are displayed and show that you are in "N" class you have a BE fare.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
Look for the fare rules r fare class. If they are displayed and show that you are in "N" class you have a BE fare.
Unfortunately, fare rules are (almost?) impossible to find on ctrip. However, currently BE fares can only be purchased in the US:

TICKETS MAY ONLY BE SOLD IN UNITED STATES.
So, you should get regular economy. If you're buying this as part of a circle trip -- e.g., PEK-ORD, ORD-LAS, LAS-SFO-PEK -- it has to be regular economy because you can't mix BE and regular economy fares on the same ticket. Otherwise, I'll go with "should," but I'll also note that I priced out a trip on a route that has a big BE differential and the ctrip price was clearly regular economy. Of course, UA can issue new fares anytime.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
Look for the fare rules r fare class. If they are displayed and show that you are in "N" class you have a BE fare.
Aside from N=Basic EcoNOmy ...

Don't BE fares have point of sale restrictions attached (e.g. US POS only) meaning a foreign, in this case Chinese, travel agency wouldn't be able to ticket a BE fare?

(Edit: Of course, the one time I try to verify this by looking at actual fare rules, I can't find a domestic route where UA is offering BE as an option...)
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Old Aug 30, 17, 9:04 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Unfortunately, fare rules are (almost?) impossible to find on ctrip. However, currently BE fares can only be purchased in the US:



So, you should get regular economy. If you're buying this as part of a circle trip -- e.g., PEK-ORD, ORD-LAS, LAS-SFO-PEK -- it has to be regular economy because you can't mix BE and regular economy fares on the same ticket. Otherwise, I'll go with "should," but I'll also note that I priced out a trip on a route that has a big BE differential and the ctrip price was clearly regular economy. Of course, UA can issue new fares anytime.
I'm very tempted to buy. The price on ctrip is the same as BE when you do the conversion. it's about $50 USD equivalent versus the non BE fare i think was $90. I can't justify myself paying a $40 premium. Maybe it's a bulk ticket which would be fine.

I'm hoping the POS rules will stick. It'll be a China POS, but it's a US domestic flight.

And correct - Ctrip doesn't tell you the fare rules or the booking code.

PS - I just priced 2 separate dates and routes and the ctrip price is identical to the BE fare. So I'm worried it will turn out to be N class.

Last edited by flyerbaby19; Aug 30, 17 at 9:13 am
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Old Aug 30, 17, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
I'm very tempted to buy. The price on ctrip is the same as BE when you do the conversion. it's about $50 USD equivalent versus the non BE fare i think was $90. I can't justify myself paying a $40 premium. Maybe it's a bulk ticket which would be fine.

I'm hoping the POS rules will stick. It'll be a China POS, but it's a US domestic flight.

And correct - Ctrip doesn't tell you the fare rules or the booking code.

PS - I just priced 2 separate dates and routes and the ctrip price is identical to the BE fare. So I'm worried it will turn out to be N class.
If you can't justify paying a $40 premium -- and I don't blame you -- and you still want to take a trip, then book with ctrip. In the worst case, you get what you're expecting, and what United would offer you -- BE. In the best case, you get a bonus.

What routes/dates are you looking at where the pricing matches BE?
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Old Aug 30, 17, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If you can't justify paying a $40 premium -- and I don't blame you -- and you still want to take a trip, then book with ctrip. In the worst case, you get what you're expecting, and what United would offer you -- BE. In the best case, you get a bonus.

What routes/dates are you looking at where the pricing matches BE?
It is an interesting case who is at fault. UA publishes the fares and allows them to be sold, but prohibits their sale outside the US. If a third party - which UA allows to sell tickets and takes your $$$ from - books you in N against UA's rules, I would think you have a good argument that given (a) no disclosure of fare rules, and (b) POS outside US that they have to give you regular Y.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 9:38 pm
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
It is an interesting case who is at fault. UA publishes the fares and allows them to be sold, but prohibits their sale outside the US. If a third party - which UA allows to sell tickets and takes your $$$ from - books you in N against UA's rules, I would think you have a good argument that given (a) no disclosure of fare rules, and (b) POS outside US that they have to give you regular Y.
Argument to who? Ctrip will take you money and laugh. They won't care.

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
If you can't justify paying a $40 premium -- and I don't blame you -- and you still want to take a trip, then book with ctrip. In the worst case, you get what you're expecting, and what United would offer you -- BE. In the best case, you get a bonus.

What routes/dates are you looking at where the pricing matches BE?
One I was looking is IAH-ORD
December 4, 5:15am. Ctrip = 569 RMB
BE = $80 USD (roughly 530 RMB)
K fare = $100 USD

If I'm gonna end up in BE, then I'll just fly a different airline so I'd really like to know.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 31, 17 at 2:48 am Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Aug 30, 17, 10:25 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
One I was looking is IAH-ORD
December 4, 5:15am. Ctrip = 569 RMB
BE = $80 USD (roughly 530 RMB)
K fare = $100 USD

If I'm gonna end up in BE, then I'll just fly a different airline so I'd really like to know.
Unfortunately, the best advice that I can give you is to try calling them again and asking what fare class your flight books into. N = Basic Economy; everything else is not. I can confirm that the BE fares on that route do have the USA-only sales restriction. If I put Beijing or HK in as the sales city on ITA Matrix, I get the US$100 fare as the lowest available for that flight. Now, there is a US$90 G fare filed, but I don't see any G availability on that particular flight (regardless of point of sale) and US$90 is still more than 569. So... I'm stumped.

Sadly, I still can make neither head nor tail of the display of fare information on their website.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 11:08 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
Argument to who? Ctrip will take you money and laugh. They won't care.
United. If the OP prints out everything showing that he is in Y, and no BE disclosures, and UA's fare rules prohibit selling BE to non-US addresses, then he has a pretty good argument that its not his issue, he gets Y. That is my point. A reasonable airline would just put you in Y, but hey this is United we are taking about...

Now does he win that argument? YMMV. I am 100% I win that argument, but I'm a lawyer, and I know how to escalate very effectively...

The alternative "I don't want to mess with it" response is just to book OAL, especially if the price is the same/similar. OP suggested he might just do this. It is all his risk threshold.
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Old Aug 30, 17, 11:47 pm
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
It is an interesting case who is at fault. UA publishes the fares and allows them to be sold, but prohibits their sale outside the US. If a third party - which UA allows to sell tickets and takes your $$$ from - books you in N against UA's rules, I would think you have a good argument that given (a) no disclosure of fare rules, and (b) POS outside US that they have to give you regular Y.
Wild speculation here - no one is at fault at this point because there is no convincing evidence that the OP is actually booking an N fare.

For one thing, if Ctrip truly is using a foreign POS, it can't be an N fare. If UA doesn't publish the fare to the POS the agency is using, how would they even be able to use that fare? They can't just transpose a US-based POS fare to a Chinese one and apply it to an itinerary to sell. Which makes the whole situation of an 'argument' completely irrelevant - there won't be one. On another, OP is speculating since the RMB to US exchange is about equal to what UA is selling as BE. For one thing, it take real luck to the OP to have him match an exchange rate he got publicly with the one Ctrip is using. I haven't really tried for RMB, but have for a few other currencies and always find UAs rate is different then the going rate one finds on XE, etc. For another, it is very, very possible that the fare being offered to the OP is another POS-limited fare, but to the China (or other foreign) POS, that happens to be the same price as the BE fare in the US. That wouldn't be odd. Or a bulk fare, which has nothing to do with BE.

I realize OP is worried, but if they truly use a foreign POS, I wouldn't be. In that case, there are multiple other possibilities that are more likely then this being a BE fare.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 1:58 am
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
United. If the OP prints out everything showing that he is in Y, and no BE disclosures, and UA's fare rules prohibit selling BE to non-US addresses, then he has a pretty good argument that its not his issue, he gets Y. That is my point. A reasonable airline would just put you in Y, but hey this is United we are taking about...

Now does he win that argument? YMMV. I am 100% I win that argument, but I'm a lawyer, and I know how to escalate very effectively...

The alternative "I don't want to mess with it" response is just to book OAL, especially if the price is the same/similar. OP suggested he might just do this. It is all his risk threshold.
Love to see you try winning that argument.

He would have bought his ticket through ctrip. It's up to the agency to deal with the traveler at that point if they sold something they should not have, especially cross border, and it's up to the agency to disclose the purchase conditions.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Wild speculation here - no one is at fault at this point because there is no convincing evidence that the OP is actually booking an N fare.

For one thing, if Ctrip truly is using a foreign POS, it can't be an N fare. If UA doesn't publish the fare to the POS the agency is using, how would they even be able to use that fare? They can't just transpose a US-based POS fare to a Chinese one and apply it to an itinerary to sell. Which makes the whole situation of an 'argument' completely irrelevant - there won't be one. On another, OP is speculating since the RMB to US exchange is about equal to what UA is selling as BE. For one thing, it take real luck to the OP to have him match an exchange rate he got publicly with the one Ctrip is using. I haven't really tried for RMB, but have for a few other currencies and always find UAs rate is different then the going rate one finds on XE, etc. For another, it is very, very possible that the fare being offered to the OP is another POS-limited fare, but to the China (or other foreign) POS, that happens to be the same price as the BE fare in the US. That wouldn't be odd. Or a bulk fare, which has nothing to do with BE.

I realize OP is worried, but if they truly use a foreign POS, I wouldn't be. In that case, there are multiple other possibilities that are more likely then this being a BE fare.
I bought the ticket on CTRIP, used wechat as my payment method in RMB. Ticket issued and it was N class Basic Economy.
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Old Aug 31, 17, 5:13 am
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Originally Posted by flyerbaby19 View Post
I bought the ticket on CTRIP, used wechat as my payment method in RMB. Ticket issued and it was N class Basic Economy.
I'm very sorry to hear that. I would try calling / we-chatting ctrip immediately to ask for a refund on the basis that they sold you a ticket that they shouldn't have been able to sell you and without disclosing the rules (e.g., no full-size carry-on unless you have status / a credit card). I don't know that they'll listen, but I'd give it a shot. I'm going to have to find another Chinese travel agent to suggest when people are looking to take advantage of these ex-China fares, too.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 2, 17 at 3:24 am Reason: split post to split thread
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Old Aug 31, 17, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post

I'm very sorry to hear that. I would try calling / we-chatting ctrip immediately to ask for a refund on the basis that they sold you a ticket that they shouldn't have been able to sell you and without disclosing the rules (e.g., no full-size carry-on unless you have status / a credit card). I don't know that they'll listen, but I'd give it a shot. I'm going to have to find another Chinese travel agent to suggest when people are looking to take advantage of these ex-China fares, too.
If you find a good chinese travel agent, please let me know.
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