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

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

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Old Feb 9, 19, 9:19 am   -   Wikipost
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This is an archive thread -- the active thread is United's Basic Economy - Discussion, Q&A, ...

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)

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
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Old May 3, 17, 3:14 pm
  #1501  
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Join Date: Nov 2014
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
This reflects a pricing strategy, not an IT issue.
Just poor typing by whatever intern had the keyboard. It's been fixed as of this morning.

Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
I'm not entirely sure what you are saying here but I would note that if you book a round trip with British Airways in an eligible market, they will only sell you their "handbaggage only" fares if that fare type is available in both directions (they won't sell a HBO outbound / non-HBO return round trip journey).
They changed the BE matches of refundable fares to be round-trip fares of the same price. This means that, for flights where only refundable fares are left:

(a) you can combine a BE outbound with a return in BE on that flight (for the same price as the non-combinable regular fare)
(b) if you search the flight alone, BE will show up as "not available" on the United site
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Old May 4, 17, 12:42 pm
  #1502  
 
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Just noticed BE fares popped up on LAX-SFO, UA is matching the price on WN, AA (not basic economy), DL (not basic economy), and VX with basic economy. I'm really not sure who's behind this pricing strategy but matching DL's non BE fares with BE fares doesn't seem like a winning strategy to me.

EDIT: In case it's not clear, the 4 airline options in this post were the same price on the route.
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Old May 4, 17, 2:23 pm
  #1503  
 
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Well this is interesting. Was just looking at fares between DEN and MSN. The cheapest Basic Economy fare, for one way on a round trip, was $403. Right next to it was a non-Basic economy fare for $185. Even more impressive was the second non-stop, where F was cheaper than BE...

Guess which one I booked .


Last edited by GBadger; May 5, 17 at 12:04 pm
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Old May 4, 17, 2:49 pm
  #1504  
 
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Originally Posted by 1353513636 View Post
Just noticed BE fares popped up on LAX-SFO, UA is matching the price on WN, AA (not basic economy), DL (not basic economy), and VX with basic economy. I'm really not sure who's behind this pricing strategy but matching DL's non BE fares with BE fares doesn't seem like a winning strategy to me.

EDIT: In case it's not clear, the 4 airline options in this post were the same price on the route.
This is what is going to kill them. Highly competitive market.

(1) People will not check and then will feel ripped off, especially when everything is the same price.

(2) they notice the prompts and think United is running a bate and switch, book another airline, and then think that United not only beats its customers, but tries to cheat them too.

This only ends badly. United keeps giving on-goals to its competitors.
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Old May 4, 17, 5:24 pm
  #1505  
 
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BE is on SNA-SFO...with AS pretty much matching them, guess who i am sending my business to?

BE is such a dumb concept. i will avoid UA at all costs because of BE.
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Old May 5, 17, 12:40 pm
  #1506  
 
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Originally Posted by haddon90 View Post
BE is on SNA-SFO...with AS pretty much matching them, guess who i am sending my business to?

BE is such a dumb concept. i will avoid UA at all costs because of BE.
Similar on SFO-SEA. I'm actually seeing better pricing on all of DL/AS/VX, and the difference only gets bigger when you add the BE surcharge.
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Old May 5, 17, 1:51 pm
  #1507  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
This is what is going to kill them. Highly competitive market.

(1) People will not check and then will feel ripped off, especially when everything is the same price.

(2) they notice the prompts and think United is running a bate and switch, book another airline, and then think that United not only beats its customers, but tries to cheat them too.

This only ends badly. United keeps giving on-goals to its competitors.

1) You can't NOT check. Anyone buying a basic economy fare has to be incredibly dense to get completely through the booking process without knowing what they are doing.

2) The bait-and-switch obviously seems to be working for DL, the first mover in this, so it will help UA too.

Therefore this will end well for UA. Bad for customers, but sadly there's not much we can do about it.


Originally Posted by haddon90 View Post
BE is on SNA-SFO...with AS pretty much matching them, guess who i am sending my business to?

BE is such a dumb concept. i will avoid UA at all costs because of BE.
For now you can send your low yield business to AS....until they implement BE too. You're running out of airlines to run too unfortunately.
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Old May 5, 17, 2:17 pm
  #1508  
 
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Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
1) You can't NOT check. Anyone buying a basic economy fare has to be incredibly dense to get completely through the booking process without knowing what they are doing.

2) The bait-and-switch obviously seems to be working for DL, the first mover in this, so it will help UA too.

Therefore this will end well for UA. Bad for customers, but sadly there's not much we can do about it.




For now you can send your low yield business to AS....until they implement BE too. You're running out of airlines to run too unfortunately.
DL BE is arguably not as bad as UA BE. Secondly, on the route that this comment was directed at (and SEA-SFO), DL is not selling BE and UA is matching with BE.
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Old May 5, 17, 2:29 pm
  #1509  
 
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Originally Posted by televisor View Post
Similar on SFO-SEA. I'm actually seeing better pricing on all of DL/AS/VX, and the difference only gets bigger when you add the BE surcharge.
This is totally retarded on United's part. I have to go to SEA next thursday, back on Friday. This less than 7 days before the flight. I looked and DL is $257 o/w, its a K fare. I can book AS/VX and it is $258. This is the pricing on nearly every flight.

Book the "we rip you off" skies - well they want $258 for BE. If I want Y it is $273.

These are not cheap fares, this is 40 c/mi, and the kind of business any airline would want. But United has basically taken itself out of the market for anyone except someone who is clueless or a UA mileage junkie. And meanwhile they are rubbing into their elites faces how they are having to pay $15 more not to get treated like crap. Very, very short sighted.

Put another way. I fly United 25, 50, 100k+ miles per year, and now on every flight I have to pay $15 more than Delta/VX/AS, etc, or I get treated like crap.... This ought to rub everyone the wrong way. This is a huge, sub-rosa, devaluation of elite status.

P.s. Same thing on the retrurn on 5/12. Delta (k fare) is $213, VX/AS is $214 in Y, United BE is $214, United Y is $229. Delta got more of my business.

p.s.s. On a highly competitive route, United has just priced itself $30 higher, and done so in a way that the extra "up charge" is rubbed in everyone's face. Will be fun to see how this has worked out on the 2Q call, but I guess they can blame it on Dao.

Last edited by spin88; May 5, 17 at 2:41 pm
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Old May 5, 17, 4:47 pm
  #1510  
 
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Originally Posted by 1353513636 View Post
DL BE is arguably not as bad as UA BE. Secondly, on the route that this comment was directed at (and SEA-SFO), DL is not selling BE and UA is matching with BE.
The only significant difference in product is the loss of a full-size carry-on if you're a kettle and miles if you're an elite. But there's a good chance you will have to gate-check a carry-on with DL's E fare anyway, and it's not a fare intended to appeal to status chasers.

Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
These are not cheap fares, this is 40 c/mi, and the kind of business any airline would want. But United has basically taken itself out of the market for anyone except someone who is clueless or a UA mileage junkie. And meanwhile they are rubbing into their elites faces how they are having to pay $15 more not to get treated like crap. Very, very short sighted.
Let's talk DL's E fare strategy for a minute, and how it's even more strange. I'll use MSP since I know the market best. For the most part, DL doesn't price match on nonstop routes to/from MSP. Their fares are usually priced higher, often much higher, than anyone else. I mean, what a rip-off to get the same product for a higher price. It's also not uncommon to see DL use an E fare to price match SY's standard fare. Again, what a rip-off. And then the worst example is what I'm seeing on routes like MSP-DEN/ORD. DL's E fare is HIGHER than even their competitor's standard economy fare, let alone their BE fare. Who would fly them?

We know DL rakes in the profits at MSP. No evidence that strategy is hurting them, and if anything it's helping them. All part of revenue management. You also have to ask the question of who's price matching who. The other airlines will want to price match UA's BE. Otherwise they won't get considered. Either UA will adjust their strategy, UA could force their hand to expand their basic economy fares.
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Old May 5, 17, 5:28 pm
  #1511  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Originally Posted by minnyfly View Post
For now you can send your low yield business to AS....until they implement BE too. You're running out of airlines to run too unfortunately.
since AS doesn't follow the other legacy carries (miles flown instead of $), i'll take my chances.

and when EVERY carrier's normal Y is matched by UAs BE...what would you do?
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Old May 5, 17, 5:46 pm
  #1512  
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Originally Posted by haddon90 View Post
and when EVERY carrier's normal Y is matched by UAs BE...what would you do?
Either request a status match, if I felt another airline and alliance were going to be a good match, or grit my teeth and pay it. For my $15, I get E+ and a chance at an upgrade. I can't get that for $15 on another airline.

UA is consistently the best value for me personally because I value the things that their status gets me -- specifically, E+. I'm not happy with the direction of the program, and I certainly don't care for fare increases (whether management is up-front about them or not). But, at this price point, they remain a value. How much longer I'll be able to say that, I don't know.

Anyway, this is a short-term argument. This is a copycat industry. Either AA and DL will copy this structure or UA will drop it. I like AS -- and maybe they'll remain a holdout -- but they're just not that useful for me in AUS.
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Old May 5, 17, 7:09 pm
  #1513  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Either request a status match, if I felt another airline and alliance were going to be a good match, or grit my teeth and pay it. For my $15, I get E+ and a chance at an upgrade. I can't get that for $15 on another airline.

UA is consistently the best value for me personally because I value the things that their status gets me -- specifically, E+. I'm not happy with the direction of the program, and I certainly don't care for fare increases (whether management is up-front about them or not). But, at this price point, they remain a value. How much longer I'll be able to say that, I don't know.

Anyway, this is a short-term argument. This is a copycat industry. Either AA and DL will copy this structure or UA will drop it. I like AS -- and maybe they'll remain a holdout -- but they're just not that useful for me in AUS.
People with status might pay, or they might get annoyed that they're being essentially short-changed, and go the status match route (I've already earned status, now I have to pay an extra fee to make use of my status?). I'm certainly considering the status match, except I'm just about to stop flying a lot so the whole status argument goes away (except I've already earned *G for 2018, so I might stick with *A to make use of the lounge access when I take an occasional flight).

Non-status passengers (who are needed to fill these planes) are going to look elsewhere if the prices are otherwise the same. Obviously they can't go elsewhere on less competitive routes, but UA decided to introduce this on routes with competition from 3.5 carriers (I'm counting AS+VX as 1.5), I just don't see how there's any logic in that if they're not undercutting other carriers prices (and evidence suggests UA is either the same price, or more expensive). Yes, AA and DL might follow, but UA are doing this on routes where AS, VX and WN are all competitors (in some cases with better schedules).
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Old May 5, 17, 7:40 pm
  #1514  
 
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I noticed UA is now selling BE LAX SFO. I can't help but think this is going to hurt UA long term. I might be able to rationalize offering it on the lowest fares to compete with LCCs, but 1) there are no LCCs on this route and 2) they're offering it at higher fare levels.

See: https://ibb.co/kWkd5k

Is BE a product to compete with LCCs or is it simply an attempt to increase fares? I know the answer but UA is being disingenuous.
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Old May 5, 17, 7:52 pm
  #1515  
 
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Originally Posted by boat9781 View Post
I noticed UA is now selling BE LAX SFO. I can't help but think this is going to hurt UA long term. I might be able to rationalize offering it on the lowest fares to compete with LCCs, but 1) there are no LCCs on this route and 2) they're offering it at higher fare levels.

See: https://ibb.co/kWkd5k

Is BE a product to compete with LCCs or is it simply an attempt to increase fares? I know the answer but UA is being disingenuous.
Ridiculous. Combine this with some companies not blocking out BE on corporate booking sites and you have a PR disaster and ultimately loss of high revenue customers. I can understand UA's thinking on introducing BE (the sneaky upfare) but I would pull the plug on the whole product. I could care less about paying the incremental upfare. Maybe Oscar needs to send Kirby for some common sense training.

Last edited by ermintrude; May 5, 17 at 8:12 pm Reason: added a bit
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