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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 Apr 19, 17, 1:12 pm
  #1336  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Tucson, AZ
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The title of this thread should probably be changed. The BE fares are going out everywhere now.

There's a $20 spread in one-way fares from BE to E between PHX and ORD now. The BE fares are exactly the same as the regular economy ones were until recently.
DesertRat is offline  
Old Apr 19, 17, 1:25 pm
  #1337  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
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Originally Posted by txaggiemiles View Post
BE fares are appearing on IAH-LAX route as of today.

As one data point: It does appear that the BE fare is taking over the lowest available fare and the lowest economy fare is being increased. I have been checking IAH-LAX for labor day weekend almost daily and the lowest fare was a T fare at $160 up until yesterday. Today, the BE fare is an N fare of $160. The lowest economy fare is still a T fare and is now $180. Just a single data point, but there ya go.
sadly, that is exactly the way UA has intended it to work out.. ;-(
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Old Apr 19, 17, 1:47 pm
  #1338  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
SFO-IAH on 5/26 o.w. $687 N class... terrible.

Obvious that UA has just implemented a 3% - 10% fare increase disguised as the introduction of "basic economy", that nobody will purchase...... nobody with common sense, that is.
People (including elites) will buy that fare, having no idea that it is an N despite the pop-ups, and then blow up at United. The entire "we offer an N in every bucket" approach of United - very different than what DL/AA have done, will not end well for United. Very badly thought out from a CS perspective.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 2:13 pm
  #1339  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
People (including elites) will buy that fare, having no idea that it is an N despite the pop-ups, and then blow up at United. The entire "we offer an N in every bucket" approach of United - very different than what DL/AA have done, will not end well for United. Very badly thought out from a CS perspective.
This will probably affect non-elites far more than elites. Many elites book travel for business, and I can assure you that COncur and the other booking platforms have already taken this into account, and many companies already do not allow booking of UA's BE fares. This is true for my company.

The ones that will get burned are the leisure non-elite travelers that book in Kayak or other sites that may not be easy to distinguish fare class and rules. This is where the trouble will be.... and much more bad PR is in store as a result.

This is not the way to roll out a fare increase. Many angry people to come......
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Old Apr 19, 17, 2:49 pm
  #1340  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 7
BASIC ECONOMY = We have BASICally increased our ECONOMY airfares

For the past week, I've been checking United's airfare for several domestic locations for a potential summer vacation departing from ORD.

Today in my search, instead of the usual 3 columns of airfare on their website, I saw the new "Basic Economy" 4th column. What is very interesting is that instead of the lower fares as I was expecting for "Basic Economy", they were actually EXACTLY the same fare as yesterday's regular Economy fare. They simply raised the regular Economy fare to make room for Basic Economy.

For example, going to LAX at the end of May, yesterday there were 2 flights available for $107. Today, the new Basic Economy N-fare is exactly the same at $107 for those 2 flights. The regular Economy fare has gone up to $127, a $20 increase. Since I'm traveling with small kids, Basic Economy will not work for us. In effect for my family of 4, the roundtrip airfare has increased by $160. Fares from ORD-EWR follows the same fare logic, except the increase is $15 across the board.

Imagine if Toyota did this . . . "Introducing the 2018 Toyota BASIC Camry. We've removed the power windows, power door locks, power seats, cruise control, sunroof and we're selling it for the SAME price as the fully-loaded 2017 Toyota Camry"

Given the incident last week, I'm surprised they rolled out Basic Economy out on schedule. Passengers booked in N-fares will most likely be unfamiliar with United policies. Gate agents will have to spend time explaining the seating and carry-on policies. With an overbooking situation, N-fares will be the first group to be denied boarding. N-fare families will be swapping seats on board. It's going to be a fun summer!
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:08 pm
  #1341  
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Originally Posted by sweethomeord View Post
Given the incident last week, I'm surprised they rolled out Basic Economy out on schedule. Passengers booked in N-fares will most likely be unfamiliar with United policies. Gate agents will have to spend time explaining the seating and carry-on policies. With an overbooking situation, N-fares will be the first group to be denied boarding. N-fare families will be swapping seats on board. It's going to be a fun summer!
It seems to me they shouldn't allow basic economy bookings of anyone too young to fly on their own.
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Apr 19, 17, 3:14 pm
  #1342  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I only see basic economy options on a LAS-ORD search, not anything else...

But, yes, the flight I was tracking from Chicago to Vegas at the end of July is now $206 OW in "N" class and $226 ($20 more) in S class. Yesterday it was 206 in S class
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:17 pm
  #1343  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Well out of fairness to United, some of the current Economy fares were being price matched to Spirit and Frontier. This is from my vantage point where some of the routes I fly compete with F9/NK. It would make sense to me that Basic Economy competes with the no-frills and Economy is more indicative of the loaded fare.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:20 pm
  #1344  
 
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Originally Posted by FightingIlliniUAL View Post
Well out of fairness to United, some of the current Economy fares were being price matched to Spirit and Frontier. This is from my vantage point where some of the routes I fly compete with F9/NK. It would make sense to me that Basic Economy competes with the no-frills and Economy is more indicative of the loaded fare.
Agree there. Our LAS-ORD flight at the end of July is under $100 each OW.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:28 pm
  #1345  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 962
New Basic Economy and E+ subscriptions/Silver Status

I have an E+ subscription. Can I book a Basic Economy Fare and still use my E+ subscription to book an E+ seat?

If I did not have the subscription, can a Silver Status flyer book a Basic Economy and still grab an E+ seat at T-24?

Thanks!
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:31 pm
  #1346  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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No, and no. Basic Economy fares are not entitled to seating in Economy Plus by any means. You cannot even pay for an E+ seat assignment if flying Basic Economy.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 4:25 pm
  #1347  
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
The result is that (a) United's fares show up as lower than DL/AA, etcs, since its a BE vs. Y fare, and - at least on Google, for now - (b) all anyone sees in an initial search is the BE fares on UA, not Y fares.

I said UA is doing a bate and switch because this little trick allow them to display lower fares, which on some search engines means their flights come up first. The actual Y fares are not lower, but they look lower, since a BE is displayed.
This is entirely Google, or any other OTAs, choice. UA publishes all the BE and non-BE fares, and Google can display whichever they wish, or both.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 4:30 pm
  #1348  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
This is entirely Google, or any other OTAs, choice. UA publishes all the BE and non-BE fares, and Google can display whichever they wish, or both.
+1. But at the same time, sites like Google Flights, Kayak, and others are doing an increasingly poor job at communicating the restrictions of various airlines in comparison with the others in the same search results.

Carriers like Spirit and Allegiant are often lumped into the same results as the legacies, sorted by price, with no clear indication (to the masses) that seat selection and carry-on's aren't included in the former category.

I'm not sure the solution, but with the introduction of UA BE, it just adds another layer to the mess if those are the fares that are selected to be displayed.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 4:33 pm
  #1349  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Originally Posted by pushmyredbutton View Post
+1. But at the same time, sites like Google Flights, Kayak, and others are doing an increasingly poor job at communicating the restrictions of various airlines in comparison with the others in the same search results.
As all the legacies roll out BE, I'm really hoping to see it get treated as a class of service for search purposes. The standard third-party search engines are a lot less useful if all they return are BE fares, and filtering by blocking booking codes on ITA is a real pain.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 5:03 pm
  #1350  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by pushmyredbutton View Post
+1. But at the same time, sites like Google Flights, Kayak, and others are doing an increasingly poor job at communicating the restrictions of various airlines in comparison with the others in the same search results.

Carriers like Spirit and Allegiant are often lumped into the same results as the legacies, sorted by price, with no clear indication (to the masses) that seat selection and carry-on's aren't included in the former category.

I'm not sure the solution, but with the introduction of UA BE, it just adds another layer to the mess if those are the fares that are selected to be displayed.
I don't remember seeing this warning on Google Flights before. It shows up once you build your full itinerary and before you go to booking:



It shows up for the others, though the language on the F9 and NK ones are a little different:



I just wish you could filter out fare classes like Google Flights' predecessor ITA Matrix does. I can already filter out the airlines I don't like (F9, NK, etc.), but it's annoying to get to the UA/DL sites and see that the fare quoted still isn't the one I want.

At least UA and now DL's website allow you to switch from BE to true Y before booking. Until recently, DL's site didn't have an option on the summary page to upgrade to Y if you clicked through to it from Google.

It's amazing how complicated it has become to compare fares for semi-but-not-fully-restricted Y for really simple domestic nonstop roundtrips or if I want to split a roundtrip among two airlines. It basically requires doing individual one-way searches on each airline's own website now.
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