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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 22, 17, 11:26 am
  #1381  
Formerly known as caveruner17
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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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.

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.
You contradict yourself.

If people are buying on price and the Legacies are introducing this retarded basic economy product but not lowering their price to ULCC levels, then people are still going to pick the ULCC, every time.

The only time I've flown legacies in the last 5 years is for international trips and the rare occasion they match domestic fares and are less than $50 RT more expensive than ULCCs. With this new BE structure, they need to be within $20 of the ULCCs, which it's 100% proven that's not the case. So I see zero benefit in flying them. 1-2" of space and a crappy half-filled drink glass isn't going to sway me to spend another $100 on a ticket on a 2-3 hour flight.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 12:54 pm
  #1382  
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Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
You contradict yourself.

If people are buying on price and the Legacies are introducing this retarded basic economy product but not lowering their price to ULCC levels, then people are still going to pick the ULCC, every time.

The only time I've flown legacies in the last 5 years is for international trips and the rare occasion they match domestic fares and are less than $50 RT more expensive than ULCCs. With this new BE structure, they need to be within $20 of the ULCCs, which it's 100% proven that's not the case. So I see zero benefit in flying them. 1-2" of space and a crappy half-filled drink glass isn't going to sway me to spend another $100 on a ticket on a 2-3 hour flight.
By all means, fly the ULCCs then. I don't expect anyone to mimic my flying preferences because they are the right choice for me. You should make the flying choices that are right for you.

And I don't see my post as contradictory. You're miscontrsuing and making an assumption about my comments, that I am part of the segment that buys based on price and not value, per the passages you bolded. Price is a fairly important factor for me, but it is only part of the package, and I have frequently given business to a carrier, often UA since I'm an elite, on a carrier that isn't offering the lowest price. I don't like being nickel and dimed, so don't like flying Spirit, Frontier, etc. (god forbid I need to get a BP printed at the airport...$$$). I get many status benefits on UA that I don't get on other carriers, including LCCs (free checked bags are very nice to have traveling with a toddler, which pretty much requires one every trip). I like a semi-reasonable amount of legroom. Not as important on shorter flights, but I like the ability to select a seat in advance. And (very importantly), I like flying on a carrier that actually services both my origin and destination, and with a convenient schedule. Despite their bigger route footprint now, I'd say about 50% of the routes I fly aren't serviced on one-end by the LCCs/ULCCs. Of those that are, it's often once a day (or not even daily) at an inconvenient time. I try to be somewhat flexible, but if Frontier flies to my destination, but only offers an early morning flight when I can't leave until mid-afternoon, that's a non-starter. Or if they only offer me a 6 hour connection in DEN (and yes, I've seen that), then it's often not worth the savings, especially when travelling with the toddler, who gets cranky on longer trips, so I try to avoid super-long connections. As an added bonus, on a legacy, there are usually alternatives should there be a delay that makes me mis-connect or a cancelation - often not on the ULCCs.

The BE fares are also a non-starter for me because while I don't do this often, I like to have the flexibility to make a change should I need to. Does it mean that I need to spend an extra $15 or $20 to get a non-BE fare, or non-E fare on DL. Perhaps. But I like having those options. People buying on price will keep buying on price, sure. And while there are certainly examples of UA pricing higher than ULCCs with BE fares, there are also other examples of them matching (both pre- and post- BE fares).

And yes, if a traveller who's booking only based on price sees a higher UA fare compared to LCCs, yes, they will probably go to the LCC. But that doesn't give any context into why UA is offering fares that aren't as low - perhaps on those flights UA has already sold what they consider enough of those matching fares, and/or are convinced they don't need to on that particular flight, because loads are good and they will have enough buyers that will pay higher fares.

On the other hand, if people actually look at the all-ins once travel is complete, I'd bet many of those flying on the LCCs are paying as much, or more, than they would on UA/other legacies, even when the base fares show lower. Look at the amount of ancilliary fees Spirit, etc. take per traveller. It's not insignificant, for sure.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 3:36 pm
  #1383  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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The amount of negative hurdles you have to click through to actually book a BE fare ("Yes, I certify I probably do not want to sit with my family") and their low "discount" indicates to me that they are just a hook to get people to UA.com from Google Flights, Hopper, etc. where customers then choose a normal fare for a nominal fee. And to keep up with Delta in the race to the bottom.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 7:05 pm
  #1384  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
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......
I just booked an economy fare via one of my business agents, a large firm that books corporate travel on a medium scale, and it did not cough up that they were booking me in a BE fare. What I realized afterwards was that when the booking engine told me I could not select seats, it was telling me I was buying a BE booking. I called UA right up and cancelled the reservations (they hesitated since it was an agency booking), and sent a note to the agency. Curious to see what they will say on Monday. Hopefully all of my colleagues will boycott a BE mandate.

Anyone know what the US Gov will do with their official travel portals?

Last edited by weezl; Apr 27, 17 at 4:53 pm
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Old Apr 22, 17, 9:04 pm
  #1385  
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Originally Posted by weezl View Post
I just booked an economy fare via one of my business agents, a large firm that books corporate travel on a medium scale, and it did not cough up that they were booking me in a BE fare. What I realized afterwards was that when the booking engine told me I could not select seats, it was telling be I was buying a BE booking. I called UA right up and cancelled the reservations (they hesitated since it was an agency booking), and sent a note to the agency. Curious to see what they will say on Monday. Hopefully all of my colleagues will boycott a BE mandate.

Anyone know what the US Gov will do with their official travel portals?
I thought gov't fares are some special iteration of Y fares, with airlines being contracted by route at whatever the special fare is. I would imagine they don't have to worry about being booked into BE.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 9:29 pm
  #1386  
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Originally Posted by Say Vandelay View Post
The amount of negative hurdles you have to click through to actually book a BE fare ("Yes, I certify I probably do not want to sit with my family") and their low "discount" indicates to me that they are just a hook to get people to UA.com from Google Flights, Hopper, etc. where customers then choose a normal fare for a nominal fee. And to keep up with Delta in the race to the bottom.
Look at the rates of growth in RPMs over the last decade of JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier as a group vs. AA/UA/DL. Low fare carriers can't be ignored. Deride it all you want - DL starting making the effort with basic economy fares five years before UA did.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyl...at-assignment/
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Old Apr 23, 17, 2:53 am
  #1387  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Look at the rates of growth in RPMs over the last decade of JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier as a group vs. AA/UA/DL. Low fare carriers can't be ignored. Deride it all you want - DL starting making the effort with basic economy fares five years before UA did.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyl...at-assignment/
I would agree with this. The only difference is that UA's pricing strategy (at least for now) makes no sense if they intend to compete with ULCC's. BE's are far pricier on many legs on UA. There is no reason in the world that anyone looking for the best bare-bones price would even go with UA's excessive BE rates.

This is why I believe UA is using this as a rate hike excuse.... maybe after a while, they will adjust the BE prices down to be more competitive with ULCC's, but then leave the cheapest non-BE base fare at the raised rate... Hmm...
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Old Apr 23, 17, 5:51 am
  #1388  
 
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post

...

There is no reason in the world that anyone looking for the best bare-bones price would even go with UA's excessive BE rates.

...
schedule?

have tried Frontier, Allegiant, Spirit etc. - all technically fine, but wouldn't be overly keen to fly with them regularly. While domestic air travel in the US is more like taking the bus, I would still argue that the majors provide a much more pleasant experience.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 8:59 am
  #1389  
 
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Originally Posted by nanyang View Post
schedule?

have tried Frontier, Allegiant, Spirit etc. - all technically fine, but wouldn't be overly keen to fly with them regularly. While domestic air travel in the US is more like taking the bus, I would still argue that the majors provide a much more pleasant experience.
Week of June 19, for instance... Spirit offering o.w. ORD-DEN for $70 - $100. UA is minimum $165 for BE.

Many other searches put UA way above in price. People aren't thinking about the UA "experience".... and with regard to that, recent PR suggest a rather awful experience.

Most non-elite are price conscious, especially when it costs 40% more to fly a legacy with the same level of service (or slightly more - at least you can get a coke for free)... they will not book UA over Spirit.... why would they?
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Old Apr 23, 17, 9:19 am
  #1390  
 
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
Week of June 19, for instance... Spirit offering o.w. ORD-DEN for $70 - $100. UA is minimum $165 for BE.

Many other searches put UA way above in price. People aren't thinking about the UA "experience".... and with regard to that, recent PR suggest a rather awful experience.

Most non-elite are price conscious, especially when it costs 40% more to fly a legacy with the same level of service (or slightly more - at least you can get a coke for free)... they will not book UA over Spirit.... why would they?
Let's assume all other things are equal... Spirit operate this route 2 x daily (1225 and 2230 departures) - so one might need to plan around this.

However, I am willing to believe there are people who need / want to save every single dollar and compromise on comfort. It is a fair point that UA are unlikely to be the pinnacle of comfort in the area of air travel.

I've flown with Spirit once, LGA-DTW. Paid around USD50 more vs. Delta with a broadly comparable schedule. Was just curious to experience the product. It was interesting!
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Old Apr 23, 17, 7:57 pm
  #1391  
Formerly known as caveruner17
 
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Originally Posted by nanyang View Post
Let's assume all other things are equal... Spirit operate this route 2 x daily (1225 and 2230 departures) - so one might need to plan around this.

However, I am willing to believe there are people who need / want to save every single dollar and compromise on comfort. It is a fair point that UA are unlikely to be the pinnacle of comfort in the area of air travel.

I've flown with Spirit once, LGA-DTW. Paid around USD50 more vs. Delta with a broadly comparable schedule. Was just curious to experience the product. It was interesting!
I just picked DEN-ORD on a random Tuesday in September (12th)

Frontier and Spirit are $64/OW, UA BE is $171

Even with a $25 checked bag, Spirit and Frontier are $89. UA is $186 with a carryon.

Why would I want to spend 2x as much on UA on a 2hr flight? They aren't even trying to be competitive here. Why would anyone take UA over AA or WN which is also $171 without the stupid limitations of BE?

UA is just shooting themselves in the foot.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 8:18 pm
  #1392  
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Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
I just picked DEN-ORD on a random Tuesday in September (12th)

Frontier and Spirit are $64/OW, UA BE is $171

Even with a $25 checked bag, Spirit and Frontier are $89. UA is $186 with a carryon.

Why would I want to spend 2x as much on UA on a 2hr flight?
Frequency? A flight when you actually need to fly...
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Old Apr 23, 17, 8:33 pm
  #1393  
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Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
UA is just shooting themselves in the foot.


Yeah...no chance at all that different airlines charge different fares in different markets in a highly dynamic manner.

Also, these fares are NOT about competing with the ULCCs. That's never been United's plan.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 12:02 am
  #1394  
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Originally Posted by caverunner17 View Post
I just picked DEN-ORD on a random Tuesday in September (12th)

Frontier and Spirit are $64/OW, UA BE is $171

Even with a $25 checked bag, Spirit and Frontier are $89. UA is $186 with a carryon.

Why would I want to spend 2x as much on UA on a 2hr flight? They aren't even trying to be competitive here. Why would anyone take UA over AA or WN which is also $171 without the stupid limitations of BE?

UA is just shooting themselves in the foot.
or, at least for this particular routing, maybe hey know they don't need to be competitive by price with ULCCs because they know they can fill these flights with higher fare traffic.

Of all the markets they would want to compete directly with the ULCCs on in price, Id guess the hub-to-hub ones would probably be the least likely candidates. If UA needs to resort to matching Soirit prices to fill seats on a hub-hub route, particularly when one end has so little long-haul international flights that almost all that traffic would need to connect from somewhere, then I'd say UA is in pretty big trouble as a business.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 2:59 am
  #1395  
 
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The stupid thing about Basic Economy is that you are not allowed to pay a fee to do anything when you get to the airport and find out you have this crummy ticket (other than check a bag, which all the kettles have to pay for anyway).

Unlike Spirit or Allegiant, UA will not give you the option to pay $10 or so for a seat assignment of your liking. You HAVE to take whatever the computer gives you. It's worse than open seating.

Unlike Spirit or Allegiant, UA will not give you the option to pay for overhead bin space. You have to gate-check your bag, which costs even more, and if you have electronics in it, then you have to take those out and carry them on board.

If you want to be just like Spirit Airlines, then do so all the way. Doing it half-assed makes things worse.
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