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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 21, 17, 2:27 pm
  #1366  
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Originally Posted by sexykitten7 View Post
Looks like only IAH, DEN, ORD for now. Won't affect me thank God as I always have to connect. But ya know what they say: First they came for MSP and I said nothing...
I expect the next wave of rollouts will include connecting flights. I assume they're taking a look at passenger pushback and industry response before expanding it further.

Since we have yet to have a single report in this thread about the way it's actually working on flights to and from MSP, and since they proceeded with the expansion immediately after the MSP flights started, I'm guessing they'll continue on the current course for the time being.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 2:29 pm
  #1367  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I expect the next wave of rollouts will include connecting flights. I assume they're taking a look at passenger pushback and industry response before expanding it further.

Since we have yet to have a single report in this thread about the way it's actually working on flights to and from MSP, and since they proceeded with the expansion immediately after the MSP flights started, I'm guessing they'll continue on the current course for the time being.
Yeah, I'm a little surprised they added a much broader market rollout before have any actual flights with Basic Economy. They got some market data I'm sure but no operational feedback.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 8:22 pm
  #1368  
 
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Nobody posting experiences here because nobody is buying the fares. I just purchased a ticket today and avoided the BE fare, and paid $30 extra for the round trip. Pretty sure that MOST others are doing exactly the same thing. UA will have very little data to look at to assess BE, but what they WILL have is a successful implementation of a fare increase across the board.

Probably only a few days away from seeing BE (I will refer to it as the fare increase) hit flights with connections.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 8:36 pm
  #1369  
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
Nobody posting experiences here because nobody is buying the fares. I just purchased a ticket today and avoided the BE fare, and paid $30 extra for the round trip. Pretty sure that MOST others are doing exactly the same thing. UA will have very little data to look at to assess BE, but what they WILL have is a successful implementation of a fare increase across the board.

Probably only a few days away from seeing BE (I will refer to it as the fare increase) hit flights with connections.
Based on the fact that ULCCs exist, I doubt your statement that "most" people are paying more to avoid this. I find the fares unattractive, and I see it as a stealth -- and unwelcome -- way to charge elites for E+. However, there are undoubtedly people who shop for the lowest price and are either willing to accept the restrictions or are unaware of them.

FTers may not buy the fares, but I'm surprised that nobody has a story like "I was waiting for my SFO-ORD flight and they were boarding SFO-MSP at the next gate... nobody had seat assignments, passengers were furious.." etc.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 9:27 pm
  #1370  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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IAH-SFO now basic economy

For around 2 weeks, I've been tracking several IAH-SFO flights during the summer for $327 RT. Went to buy today because it didn't seem like the price was going down and $327 is now the BE price. $40 overnight price increase for this route

The schedule of UA 385/UA 2405 is in direct competition with F9 1435/F9 1430 which currently goes for $197. Similarly, Spirit has late morning departure/early afternoon return flights for $232 that compete with flights that United offers in BE for...$541.

Basic Economy is a complete disgrace. This only makes ULCCs more competitive without any benefit for customers. Non-elites have no reason to choose United over ULCCs and elites are being penalized for loyalty. At least on Delta you still earn MQMs, MQDs, and SkyMiles. Hell you even earn miles on Spirit and Frontier. United managed to make BE worse than anything else out there.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 9:42 pm
  #1371  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
FTers may not buy the fares, but I'm surprised that nobody has a story like "I was waiting for my SFO-ORD flight and they were boarding SFO-MSP at the next gate... nobody had seat assignments, passengers were furious.." etc.
Yeah. I'm flying out of MSP next week, but on DL and I think too late to go spectate at the UA gates. Thanks, BE
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Old Apr 21, 17, 10:00 pm
  #1372  
 
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Originally Posted by raycosm View Post
For around 2 weeks, I've been tracking several IAH-SFO flights during the summer for $327 RT. Went to buy today because it didn't seem like the price was going down and $327 is now the BE price. $40 overnight price increase for this route

The schedule of UA 385/UA 2405 is in direct competition with F9 1435/F9 1430 which currently goes for $197. Similarly, Spirit has late morning departure/early afternoon return flights for $232 that compete with flights that United offers in BE for...$541.

Basic Economy is a complete disgrace. This only makes ULCCs more competitive without any benefit for customers. Non-elites have no reason to choose United over ULCCs and elites are being penalized for loyalty. At least on Delta you still earn MQMs, MQDs, and SkyMiles. Hell you even earn miles on Spirit and Frontier. United managed to make BE worse than anything else out there.
Two comments:
  1. $327 is pretty cheap for UA fares on this route. They charge a big markup for their near monopoly on nonstops for this route.
  2. The comment above notwithstanding, they actually dropped the price to ~$165 RT a couple weeks ago on the two flights that directly compete with F9, at least on some days. It didn't last too long.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 10:26 pm
  #1373  
 
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Originally Posted by Magic Pickles View Post
ORD-LGA fares in Basic Economy N (e.g. $63.20) were the exact same price in G yesterday. Essentially, they raised all ticket prices by $15
The same was true for PHX-DEN; I had looked the day before N fares started, and wanted to book the next day and saw the changes. I typically travel with a carry-on rollaboard, so the N fares are not going to work for me. The lowest regular economy price is now similar to that of Southwest (and WN's change policies are so much better), so UA lost a frequent customer on that route. Not that UA cares, though.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 10:59 pm
  #1374  
 
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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.
You can deselect airlines, but if UA starts offering BE fares then people will just start to deselect UA. They are not going to click into each one to check whence comes the fare.
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Old Apr 21, 17, 11:41 pm
  #1375  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by milypan View Post
Two comments:
  1. $327 is pretty cheap for UA fares on this route. They charge a big markup for their near monopoly on nonstops for this route.
  2. The comment above notwithstanding, they actually dropped the price to ~$165 RT a couple weeks ago on the two flights that directly compete with F9, at least on some days. It didn't last too long.
Good points, although I'd like to add some more:
  1. On competition, let's take IAH-LAX which has a decent amount of routes competing with AA. Just taking 7/7 - 7/10, nonstop, early morning departure and late afternoon return. $353 on AA regular economy and $398 United BE (+$40 for regular economy). $282 on Spirit. AA pricing is at least competitive with Spirit and actually probably a better deal considering carry-on, status recognition, and earning miles. UA pricing is an insult, and is higher than AA for every other competing flight AND they have the arrogance to stick you with BE while AA still offers regular economy. UA does have a few more flights than AA, but the ones that AA competes on are both cheaper and non-BE. I guess this will be moot though since UA introducing BE on this route gives AA an excuse to raise fares or introduce their own (superior) BE (which earns EQMs, EQDs, and miles).
  2. Have to agree with #2 , I actually managed to snag the F9 competitive price before they made the change to BE. It lasted for a total of 2 days according to my Google Flights watch. Even if BE had been in effect at the time, it would have been a good deal. But it's a good deal because UA was actually trying to compete with F9, which they definitely aren't doing by introducing BE. BE = fare increase and nothing else.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 7:01 am
  #1376  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Based on the fact that ULCCs exist, I doubt your statement that "most" people are paying more to avoid this. I find the fares unattractive, and I see it as a stealth -- and unwelcome -- way to charge elites for E+. However, there are undoubtedly people who shop for the lowest price and are either willing to accept the restrictions or are unaware of them.

FTers may not buy the fares, but I'm surprised that nobody has a story like "I was waiting for my SFO-ORD flight and they were boarding SFO-MSP at the next gate... nobody had seat assignments, passengers were furious.." etc.
This exactly. Most on here are not the type that BE fares are targeted at. History has shown, time and time again, that there is a huge segment of the public that buys on price, not on value. And with the growing influence of more ULCCs on more routes, this is how UA and the other legacies are competing.

Lets not forget - buying on the ULCCs is not going to get you more than buying a BE fare. In fact, it'll get you less, IMO. 28" pitch - no thank you. Charging for all drinks on board - no thanks. In many cases, less options on schedule. Paying if I (god forbid) need to get my BP at the airport? I get that this appeals to some. I'm fine with flying on the legacies, thank you.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 7:27 am
  #1377  
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
This exactly. Most on here are not the type that BE fares are targeted at. History has shown, time and time again, that there is a huge segment of the public that buys on price, not on value. And with the growing influence of more ULCCs on more routes, this is how UA and the other legacies are competing.
Actually we're all the type of people BE fares are targeting. It is a great way for the airlines to increase fares for many, many passengers on many, many routes. Basic Economy hasn't been about competing with the LCCs/ULCCs for a long time now.

n.b. The link above is to my blog or to one which I am a regular contributor. FT rules require that I disclose that in the post.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 8:42 am
  #1378  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
...this is how UA and the other legacies are competing..
More like a stealth price increase because prices are not even at Spirit/Frontier/Allegiant levels.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 8:56 am
  #1379  
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Originally Posted by idiosyncrasy View Post
More like a stealth price increase because prices are not even at Spirit/Frontier/Allegiant levels.
Some are higher, some are lower. Depends on market, loads, dates, etc. A blanket statement in either direction will be easily disproved by exceptions.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 9:10 am
  #1380  
 
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Some are higher, some are lower. Depends on market, loads, dates, etc. A blanket statement in either direction will be easily disproved by exceptions.
Agreed.
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