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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 24, 17, 5:31 am
  #1396  
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
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).
...
If you want to be just like Spirit Airlines, then do so all the way. Doing it half-assed makes things worse.
More like UA wants you to pay more up front and then pay for extras. The goal of this product is to not sell it.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 5:56 am
  #1397  
 
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Funny how they target leisure markets (like MCO) but warn that families shouldn't purchse them. It's basically a fare hike for mostly everyone.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 6:03 am
  #1398  
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
More like UA wants you to pay more up front and then pay for extras. The goal of this product is to not sell it.
Exactly. One more step on bifurcating pricing by customer base. If you have any preference/need/advantage to flying UA on one of these routes your cost just went up.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 6:07 am
  #1399  
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Originally Posted by edcho View Post
Funny how they target leisure markets (like MCO) but warn that families shouldn't purchse them. It's basically a fare hike for mostly everyone.
Correct that it is a fare hike for most pax. Not really "targeting" MCO so much as that's one of the earlier markets to get the product rolled out. I expect BE to cover the full domestic route network pretty darn quickly. This is not a targeted product, just a phased roll-out.

Originally Posted by LIH View Post
If you have any preference/need/advantage to flying UA on one of these routes your cost just went up.
I'd strike "one of these routes" from that sentiment. This isn't going to be a limited/targeted deployment.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 6:11 am
  #1400  
 
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
I'd strike "one of these routes" from that sentiment. This isn't going to be a limited/targeted deployment.
I'm particularly scared to see what the cost delta is between BE and lowest fare class for TATL and TPAC... probably a $100+ upcharge per r.t. ticket coming there too.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 6:17 am
  #1401  
 
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
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.
I was looking at Frontier yesterday for flights to LAX. It would cost only $6 for a seat assignment.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 7:50 am
  #1402  
 
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I almost booked an ORD-LGA with this fare by accodent. Why would they target that market?
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Old Apr 24, 17, 8:19 am
  #1403  
 
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Originally Posted by LASUA1K View Post
I almost booked an ORD-LGA with this fare by accodent. Why would they target that market?
Because there is direct competition from Spirit.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 8:36 am
  #1404  
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Originally Posted by LASUA1K View Post
I almost booked an ORD-LGA with this fare by accodent. Why would they target that market?
Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
Because there is direct competition from Spirit.
No, it has nothing to do with Spirit. As Seth just said, they're not targeting any markets; this is a phased rollout, and the phases are coming quickly.

UA is raising their economy fares in most markets and rolling out BE to obfuscate that. Their intention is to have UA flights look the same in OTA search results, but then to collect incremental revenue when passengers balk at the restrictions or when they have to check a bag.

If this had anything to do with matching low fares, they would simply have introduced a low-fare BE bucket with the usual pricing and availability rules. The way that they introduced it -- adding a differential fare from every existing fare in the market, all the way up to Y, originally -- wasn't necessary to compete with cheap fares.

On ORD-LGA, a search for 5/18 shows published BE fares from $52 (G-BN) to $380 (E-BN). They could make an argument about the $52 fare being a ULCC response, but not the $380 one.

Interestingly, whereas when this was first introduced, the BE fares went all the way up to Y; for example, that same 5/18 date for MSP-DEN, using a ticketing date of 3/16, shows BAA0AFBN (a $5 discount to BAA0AFEY) and YAA0AFBN (A $35 discount to YUA; YAA0AFEY doesn't seem to exist). If I change the ticketing date back to today, the highest BE fare is MAA7AKBN, a $15 discount to MAA7AKEN. In fact, none of the refundable fares in that market currently have a BE equivalent. I wonder if this is a response to some negative feedback? (It definitely contradicts their original statement that BE fares wouldn't be capacity-controlled, but I doubt anyone's going to shed tears over this).
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Old Apr 24, 17, 9:26 am
  #1405  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
UA is raising their economy fares in most markets and rolling out BE to obfuscate that. Their intention is to have UA flights look the same in OTA search results, but then to collect incremental revenue when passengers balk at the restrictions or when they have to check a bag.
Checking bag... yes. There is no option to even purchase E+ or a seat assignment, or any other amenity that is not offered as a part of BE.

BE is going to make many people angry, especially those that have purchased a $700 r.t. hub-hub unknowingly in the BE bucket.

This is the worst fare increase strategy I have ever seen. Worst. At least our corporate travel agent has blocked these fares and I cannot even accidentally book one.

Last edited by jjmoore; Apr 24, 17 at 9:43 am
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Old Apr 24, 17, 9:41 am
  #1406  
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Originally Posted by LASUA1K View Post
I almost booked an ORD-LGA with this fare by accodent. Why would they target that market?
Just curious...where did you almost 'accidentally' book a BE fare. I hope not on UAs own site. I suppose it's not particularly difficult for one to not pay attention to the fare name on the top of the column there, but I find it hard to believe anyone could 'accidentally' do it with the popup that comes up, the box you have to check to accept you agree to the terms, and then have to click the button to proceed.

UA is pretty upfront about that, so don't really have much sympathy for those who go through all those steps, and still don't know.

I guess the question is: How do the OTAs handle it. Is there a warning. And do they offer an option before you purchase, to purchase the regular economy fare instead of the basic.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 9:48 am
  #1407  
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
Checking bag... yes. There is no option to even purchase E+ or a seat assignment, or any other amenity that is not offered as a part of BE.
Right -- I expect people will "balk at those restrictions," as I said.

Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
BE is going to make many people angry, especially those that have purchased a $700 r.t. hub-hub unknowingly in the BE bucket.
I expect the same thing, and, yet, so far, nary a peep in this thread. No links to scathing reports in the Minneapolis media; no "I booked the cheapest fare on Orbitz and UA charged me double for my carry-on" posts -- nothing. I guess we'll see what happens as the program expands to more flights.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 9:54 am
  #1408  
 
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
BE is going to make many people angry, especially those that have purchased a $700 r.t. hub-hub unknowingly in the BE bucket.
Unknowingly? There are numerous warnings on both 3rd party sites as well as on UA's website when you book stating that you're purchasing a BE bucket fare. At some point in time we have to lay part of the blame on the party booking the ticket. Sure, it's a new ticket category with limitations and different processes, but it's not the airlines fault if you don't listen to the popup that comes up, the check box that states you agree that there are no carry on bags allowed nor seat selections, as well as the big orange text that says BASIC ECONOMY. It irks me a little whenever people say they 'didn't know' when there's this popup that you can't bypass when booking on UA's website.

I'm not the smartest guy on the block, not even close. If I can figure out that I'm buying a BE ticket, I would expect 99% of everyone else to be able to piece that together too.

If they rolled this out in the middle of the night and told no one or sent one email, I'd completely agree with you 100%.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 10:12 am
  #1409  
 
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Just curious...where did you almost 'accidentally' book a BE fare. I hope not on UAs own site. I suppose it's not particularly difficult for one to not pay attention to the fare name on the top of the column there, but I find it hard to believe anyone could 'accidentally' do it with the popup that comes up, the box you have to check to accept you agree to the terms, and then have to click the button to proceed.

UA is pretty upfront about that, so don't really have much sympathy for those who go through all those steps, and still don't know.

I guess the question is: How do the OTAs handle it. Is there a warning. And do they offer an option before you purchase, to purchase the regular economy fare instead of the basic.
On the app. Once I clicked on the fare which was the first one listed on the left, I clicked it but thankfully I was awake and I got the warning. I could've easily just clicked ok.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 11:34 am
  #1410  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Interestingly, whereas when this was first introduced, the BE fares went all the way up to Y; for example, that same 5/18 date for MSP-DEN, using a ticketing date of 3/16, shows BAA0AFBN (a $5 discount to BAA0AFEY) and YAA0AFBN (A $35 discount to YUA; YAA0AFEY doesn't seem to exist). If I change the ticketing date back to today, the highest BE fare is MAA7AKBN, a $15 discount to MAA7AKEN. In fact, none of the refundable fares in that market currently have a BE equivalent. I wonder if this is a response to some negative feedback? (It definitely contradicts their original statement that BE fares wouldn't be capacity-controlled, but I doubt anyone's going to shed tears over this).
For now they still have them filed, but they are a round-trip basis and probably won't price since they're the same price as the regular Y fare (see e.g. MR0AFBR).

Also interesting to note some more market moves. For example, MSP/DEN has published GAA7ACBS, a $29 base fare with no regular Economy pair, which is not a direct match of F9 but seems aimed at them. In a somewhat similar vein, I follow SFO/MSP and note that SY always sets the market price and UA has switched from matching with regular fares to matching with N fares.
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