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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, 12:10 pm
  #1411  
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
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).
Ah, interesting. I only searched one-way, obviously. The round-trip version is presumably only there for the purposes of combining with a BE flight in a lower bucket in the other direction (since BE can't combine with regular economy). Regardless, it's a change in strategy that may presage the further reduction of BE on high-yield tickets. One hopes it's a signal that they're listening to customer feedback. (Of course, in the deep discount buckets, I imagine it's here to stay. )
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Old Apr 24, 17, 3:30 pm
  #1412  
 
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Originally Posted by LASUA1K View Post
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.
The app makes you turn on BE before it will even show up and then has a very clear warning. While there are many things I don't like BE, I do think United has done a very good job at making it clear what you are buying.
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Old Apr 24, 17, 6:41 pm
  #1413  
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
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.
I don't believe DL sells any BE fares on TPAC routes yet. For TATL, it looks like the fare difference is about $70 roundtrip. The irony is that you can often buy the same flights as AF/KL coded flights for the same price as the DL BE price, but without the BE restrictions.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 9:58 am
  #1414  
 
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
I don't believe DL sells any BE fares on TPAC routes yet. For TATL, it looks like the fare difference is about $70 roundtrip. The irony is that you can often buy the same flights as AF/KL coded flights for the same price as the DL BE price, but without the BE restrictions.
I wouldn't put anything past UA in this unscrupulous, disguised BE program. If this BE program is truly a disguised fare hike, I would not be surprised at all to see it rolled out system-wide (all destinations).
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Old Apr 25, 17, 10:37 am
  #1415  
 
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
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.
But Delta only has these on the lowest fares, those matching Spirit, and they are NOT in all markets. Most business travelers don't see them often. On UA you basically get these all the time, each time with an upsell. The annoyance is very real.

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?
And then to find out that higher fare has major restrictions? Some will pay more to fly a "full service carrier" but then to get told "no, our 40% higher fare treats you like crap, but give us another $15...."

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.

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.
This will happen, and it will cause United to lose business.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 10:43 am
  #1416  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
But Delta only has these on the lowest fares, those matching Spirit, and they are NOT in all markets. Most business travelers don't see them often. On UA you basically get these all the time, each time with an upsell. The annoyance is very real.
Delta is publishing BE fares in every domestic market. The BE fares on AA, Delta, and United all have advance purchase and other restrictions which exempt the must lucrative business travelers.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 10:56 am
  #1417  
 
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
Delta is publishing BE fares in every domestic market. The BE fares on AA, Delta, and United all have advance purchase and other restrictions which exempt the must lucrative business travelers.
This is completely false. I can go today, look at buying a fare ORD-MSP for Wed April 26, 2017 - TOMORROW, and United gives me a $80 BE fare.

https://www.google.com/flights/#sear...SP0UA1660;a=UA

There is no "advanced purchase" requirement on UA. And these fares are being rolled out system wide, including at higher fare buckets.

This is a major change in business stratagy in which many business travelers will (a) be confronted with an upsell or (b) miss it and book a BE fare, often in a high bucket.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 10:57 am
  #1418  
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
Delta is publishing BE fares in every domestic market. The BE fares on AA, Delta, and United all have advance purchase and other restrictions which exempt the must lucrative business travelers.
Although UA is pulling back a little bit, when they initially launched BE, they did so for every fare in the market; meaning, there were no advance purchase (or any other) restrictions on fare eligibility. Originally, you could buy a walk-up Y-BN MSP-LAX fare on an oversold Y1 B0 .. N1 flight for a $5 discount to the fully-refundable, fully flexible, and upgrade-eligible YUA fare.

They've since pulled the Y and B one-way fares, but BE is still published up to M, meaning that most business travelers will have the option to purchase it. Many companies are filtering these fares out, but I'm sure there will be some who will not.

If this works well for UA, expect DL and AA to copy it.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 11:08 am
  #1419  
 
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Although UA is pulling back a little bit, when they initially launched BE, they did so for every fare in the market; meaning, there were no advance purchase (or any other) restrictions on fare eligibility. Originally, you could buy a walk-up Y-BN MSP-LAX fare on an oversold Y1 B0 .. N1 flight for a $5 discount to the fully-refundable, fully flexible, and upgrade-eligible YUA fare.

They've since pulled the Y and B one-way fares, but BE is still published up to M, meaning that most business travelers will have the option to purchase it. Many companies are filtering these fares out, but I'm sure there will be some who will not.

If this works well for UA, expect DL and AA to copy it.
I wonder how United will analyze how this works. In the Jeff Smisik approach they will just count every "upsell" as a success and count the $5-10-15 as a win.

But the secondary impacts are (a) immediate book aways (I see the game UA is playing, am POed, and go book someone else), (b) or people who are business travelers who book this fare w/o realizing it, and get a very bad experience on United, and yield a very bad NPS as a result, or (c) people who used to just book UA getting suspicious, and they start to look around more carefully on each fare.

Since 2011 United has been terrible at figuring out the secondary impacts. That Delta has a lot of experience with these fares, and has kept them last minute in only a few highly competitive markets vs Spirit, and then only on low fare buckets (and puts less restrictions on them than does UA) says something about what they see as the reputational/book away cost of having too wide of an unbundling of services (which is what United is really doing).
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Old Apr 25, 17, 11:47 am
  #1420  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
This is completely false. I can go today, look at buying a fare ORD-MSP for Wed April 26, 2017 - TOMORROW, and United gives me a $80 BE fare.

https://www.google.com/flights/#sear...SP0UA1660;a=UA

There is no "advanced purchase" requirement on UA. And these fares are being rolled out system wide, including at higher fare buckets.

This is a major change in business stratagy in which many business travelers will (a) be confronted with an upsell or (b) miss it and book a BE fare, often in a high bucket.
Ok, United does not have the same restrictions. However, United is more limited in its distribution of BE fares at this point.
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Old Apr 25, 17, 12:58 pm
  #1421  
 
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
Ok, United does not have the same restrictions. However, United is more limited in its distribution of BE fares at this point.
Badly misleading as United is rolling these fares out in most markets, where Delta has a much more limited distribution of them (only where needed).

Delta: Limited markets, matching ULCC (mostly spirit) fares.
United: nearly all markets are slated to have these fares

Delta: While it varies by market (and at times DL will match the ULCC with close in highly discounted fares) Delta is mostly doing these only advanced purchase fares in only the very lowest buckets.
United: So far no evidence of an advanced purchase requirement and -N fares appear to be in all buckets up to M. So someone on a very expensive ticket can get a -N

Delta: Restrictions on upgrades and seat assignements, but no limits on FF credit or carry-on bags
United: Also restricts carry-on bags and gives no status or lifetime credit for the flights in MP

Delta BE fares are designed to compete head with Spirit, offering a similar fare, with some restrictions (no seat assignment, upgrades) but some benefits you don't get flying Spirit (carry on bag, FF credit). What United is doing is VERY different, it is basically debunding certain benefits and then trying to charge everyone an "up-sell" of $5/10/15 for them each way.

IMHO this is not going to be well received by the public, and in particular business travelers.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 25, 17 at 2:43 pm Reason: unneeded, snarky comment deleted
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Old Apr 25, 17, 1:04 pm
  #1422  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
Badly misleading as United is rolling these fares out in most markets, where Delta has a much more limited distribution of them (only where needed).

Delta: Limited markets, matching ULCC (mostly spirit) fares.
United: nearly all markets are slated to have these fares

Delta: While it varies by market (and at times DL will match the ULCC with close in highly discounted fares) Delta is mostly doing these only advanced purchase fares in only the very lowest buckets.
United: So far no evidence of an advanced purchase requirement and -N fares appear to be in all buckets up to M. So someone on a very expensive ticket can get a -N

Delta: Restrictions on upgrades and seat assignements, but no limits on FF credit or carry-on bags
United: Also restricts carry-on bags and gives no status or lifetime credit for the flights in MP

Delta BE fares are designed to compete head with Spirit, offering a similar fare, with some restrictions (no seat assignment, upgrades) but some benefits you don't get flying Spirit (carry on bag, FF credit). What United is doing is VERY different, it is basically debunding certain benefits and then trying to charge everyone an "up-sell" of $5/10/15 for them each way.

IMHO this is not going to be well received by the public, and in particular business travelers.
Delta offers BE fares in all domestic markets.

I think we can stop the comparisons between the two. There are slightly different objectives between Delta and United in how BE fares are implemented and deployed. No consumers could rightfully be upset as both airlines are explicitly clear in disclosing BE fares and what is included.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 25, 17 at 2:43 pm Reason: Quote updated to reflect Moderator edit
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Old Apr 25, 17, 1:41 pm
  #1423  
 
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
Delta offers BE fares in all domestic markets.

I think we can stop the comparisons between the two. There are slightly different objectives between Delta and United in how BE fares are implemented and deployed. No consumers could rightfully be upset as both airlines are explicitly clear in disclosing BE fares and what is included.
The airlines are VERY different. Take SFO-MSP, which Sun Country, UA, and DL all fly. Going out to May 9-11, Spirit/UA/DL are all $197, it is all BE.

But if one looks at May 2-8 (less than 14 days advanced), Delta is $245 and its a regular Y fare, Sun Country is $119, and United is $215 and its a BE fare in each instance. Take away: Delta is not selling BE in this market at under 14 days, United sells it on all fares.

April 26 - May 1, United is $261 and its a BE, Delta is $261 and its a regular Y fare, Sun Country is $231. Again, very different practice.

United is now offering a BE fare for the same price Delta is offering a regular Y on tickets that are close in. Given the history of this management team that it is all a rip off/upsell plan in not surpising, but I doubt this ends well.



Delta is matching with advanced fares, but not more close in fares. That is not what UA is doing/going to do.

But the bottom line is that a lot of people are saying "well Delta did it" but United is not doing what Delta is doing.

Last edited by spin88; Apr 25, 17 at 2:14 pm
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Old Apr 25, 17, 3:15 pm
  #1424  
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A closer look at that example market, as I don't like using inventory as part of the equation (high fares due to inventory are a - possibly incorrect - expression of sales confidence on that particular flight).

For the bottom of the fare table, BE fares are working out "normally", as UA/DL both consider SY a ULCC (I don't really agree with that) and have switched to direct matching with BE fares. This is consistent with one of the stated business purposes of BE, namely to price-compete with ULCCs without offering full benefits. SFO/MSP is a market historically driven by SY, and fares would be closer to W range if not for the competition.

Bottom of the fare table grouped by carrier:

Code:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cxr     Basis      BC  Cbn    Price   Tp  AP   Days    Rf   T Start     T End     Expiry
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 UA  KAK4ARBS       N   Y    $134.00  OW  14   TW  S    N  18-Apr-17  30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 UA  KAA2AQBN       N   Y    $135.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17  31-Dec-20
 UA  KAK4ARES       K   Y    $154.00  OW  14   TW  S    N  18-Apr-17  30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 UA  KAA2AQEN       K   Y    $155.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17
 UA  LAA2AQBN       N   Y    $158.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17  31-Dec-20
 UA  LAA2ARBN       N   Y    $169.00  OW  21            N  18-Apr-17
 UA  LAA2AQEN       L   Y    $178.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17
 UA  LAA2AREN       L   Y    $189.00  OW  21            N
 
 SY  LSFO           L   Y    $104.00  OW                N  03-May-17  08-May-17  25-Apr-17
 SY  V14TWSS        V   Y    $134.00  OW  14   TW  S    N             30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 SY  V21SPCL        V   Y    $135.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17
 SY  V21XL          V   Y    $150.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17
 SY  W21XL          W   Y    $169.00  OW  21            N
 
 DL  VAUSH3BX       E   Y    $134.00  OW  14   TW  S    N             30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 DL  VAVNL0BC       E   Y    $135.00  OW  21  MTWRFSU   N  18-Jul-17
 DL  VAUSH3MW       V   Y    $149.00  OW  14   TW  S    N             30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 DL  VAVNL0ME       V   Y    $150.00  OW  21  MTWRFSU   N  18-Jul-17
 DL  XAVNA0BX       E   Y    $169.00  OW  21            N
 DL  XAVNA0MW       X   Y    $184.00  OW  21            N
And by fare (match group).
Code:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cxr     Basis      BC  Cbn    Price   Tp  AP   Days    Rf   T Start     T End     Expiry
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 SY  LSFO           L   Y    $104.00  OW                N  03-May-17  08-May-17  25-Apr-17

 DL  VAUSH3BX       E   Y    $134.00  OW  14   TW  S    N             30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 SY  V14TWSS        V   Y    $134.00  OW  14   TW  S    N             30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 UA  KAK4ARBS       N   Y    $134.00  OW  14   TW  S    N  18-Apr-17  30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 DL  VAUSH3MW       V   Y    $149.00  OW  14   TW  S    N             30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17
 UA  KAK4ARES       K   Y    $154.00  OW  14   TW  S    N  18-Apr-17  30-Aug-17  27-Apr-17

 DL  VAVNL0BC       E   Y    $135.00  OW  21  MTWRFSU   N  18-Jul-17
 SY  V21SPCL        V   Y    $135.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17
 UA  KAA2AQBN       N   Y    $135.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17  31-Dec-20
 DL  VAVNL0ME       V   Y    $150.00  OW  21  MTWRFSU   N  18-Jul-17
 SY  V21XL          V   Y    $150.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17
 UA  KAA2AQEN       K   Y    $155.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17

 UA  LAA2AQBN       N   Y    $158.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17  31-Dec-20
 UA  LAA2AQEN       L   Y    $178.00  OW  21            N  18-Jul-17

 DL  XAVNA0BX       E   Y    $169.00  OW  21            N
 SY  W21XL          W   Y    $169.00  OW  21            N
 UA  LAA2ARBN       N   Y    $169.00  OW  21            N  18-Apr-17  31-Dec-20
 DL  XAVNA0MW       X   Y    $184.00  OW  21            N
 UA  LAA2AREN       L   Y    $189.00  OW  21            N
Note:
- UA/DL decline to match SY's "Wing It" flash sale (the today-only $119 ai fare)
- The third match group is a little wonky. The lower SY fare has a blackout for popular times and months, and the DL fare is actually only valid for late night and early morning flights.
- DL's differential for BE is $15, whereas UA is $20. I predict that can't last.


But once you look at the zero-day market, you really have to ask yourself what UA thinks they're doing. Who is the competition, and who are they fooling?

Code:
-----------------------------------------------------------
Cxr     Basis      BC  Cbn    Price   Tp  AP   Days    Rf
-----------------------------------------------------------
 SY  SXL            S   Y    $222.00  OW                N

 DL  UA0NX0MR       U   Y    $247.00  OW                N
 SY  QXL            Q   Y    $247.00  OW                N
 UA  SAA0ARBN       N   Y    $247.00  OW                N
 UA  SAA0AREN       S   Y    $267.00  OW                N

 DL  KA0UX0MR       K   Y    $296.00  OW                N
 SY  HXL            H   Y    $296.00  OW                N
 UA  WAA0ARBN       N   Y    $296.00  OW                N
 UA  WAA0AREN       W   Y    $316.00  OW                N
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Old Apr 25, 17, 3:44 pm
  #1425  
 
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
Delta is matching with advanced fares, but not more close in fares. That is not what UA is doing/going to do.

But the bottom line is that a lot of people are saying "well Delta did it" but United is not doing what Delta is doing.
I don't think looking at 3 different dates in a single market provides an accurate assessment of a yield management strategy.

My only point was that Delta is not limiting BE fares to markets where it competes with Spirit (as you incorrectly claimed, several times). Beyond that, I don't really care about the similarities or lack thereof between the various BE fares. I don't think this will impact many business travelers as the fares are being excluded from their portals.
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