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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 30, 17, 10:35 am
  #1471  
 
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
I am not complaining about the fare ... but I am complaining that there is no seat assignment, no luggage, no Elite benis no nothing ... when you pay that much. That is new ... and unacceptable IMO
Absolutely unacceptable, and as the program rolls out more heavily, there will be people that purchase tickets through 3rd party websites (in more expensive fare classes) that get burned (purely the fault of the customer, but still a slap in the face to purchase a pricey ticket and get treated like Spirit Airlines), and more bad PR will be on the way.... just wait.

This is simply a poorly executed fare hike across the board.

While UA is in the business of jacking around the customer, disguising programs, and raising fares, they ought to offer the "Don't End Up Like Dr. Dao" option, which is a $20 optional surcharge per ticket that guarantees that a pax will not be IDB'ed or off-loaded from the aircraft under any circumstance. This is pure sarcasm, but I made myself laugh when I thought about this a bit ago.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 11:01 am
  #1472  
 
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I have a slightly different take than most FTers on the Basic Economy product. Allowing status and CC holders to take a carry-on bag, and offering legacy IRROPS recovery, as well as a wide array of flight times on busy routes, makes this quite attractive to me over a true ULCC. On the flip side, what I lose (SDC and pick of seat) doesn't matter that much to me.

Most of my flying is leisure solo domestic trips for weekends / long weekends, and I'm fairly price sensitive. My usual NK/F9 vs UA/DL/AA/WN decision tree for flights under 4 hours goes something like this:

- Do I need a carry-on bag? (Usually the answer is "I need to check a bag no matter what" or "I'm fine with a personal item")

- Do I have somewhere I really need to be? (Am I flying to a wedding? Do I have a can't-miss meeting Monday morning?)

If the answer is "no" to both of those, I'll fly Spirit for any reasonable price break, IF it flies at a convenient time. Otherwise, I'll fly with a legacy / Southwest.

On United BE, there are more flights, I get a carry-on, and if there is a cancellation I don't have to wait 3 days for the next Spirit seat or bail myself out with a walk-up fare on another airline. I basically save $10-$20 by not picking a seat and losing my SDC ability (which I rarely use because $75 with no status). If I imagine "would I pay $20 to pick a Y- seat", the answer would probably be "no" most of the time.

Let's look at ORD-LGA on June 7th:

United normal Economy: $95, 5 flight options (and many more for a few dollars more)
United Basic Economy: $80, 5 flight options (same)
Spirit: $54 with only 2 flight options

If I don't mind flying at 6am or 6pm, don't need a bag, and don't have somewhere to be, I'll probably be on Spirit. If I need a bag, care about IRROPS, or want to fly mid-day, I'll probably be on United BE. If I want SDC or am flying with someone and want to sit next to each other, I'll probably be on normal Economy.

Maybe I'm their target audience?
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Old Apr 30, 17, 12:30 pm
  #1473  
 
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
Maybe I'm their target audience?
Possibly I understand your logic but in reality I think the answer is no. What I and many others believe is that UA's BE is really just a sneaky way of upfaring on every fare above N. I read somewhere that the vast majority of the predicted revenue increase from BE will be due to the upfaring.

UA's BE is such an unattractive product and for the most part uncompetitive with the ULCCS, I really don't think they expect people to voluntarily buy it.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 4:09 pm
  #1474  
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People who get the short end of the stick from their employer and are not in a position to complain because they otherwise like the job or they can't find anything better, tend to blame the carrier.

But, the bottom line is that if you book with the carrier and screw it up, that's on you. If you book on a third-party website which disguises the shortcomings of the fare, that's, you should vote with your feet and book with a third-party site which is more obvious.

But, if you are forced to use your employer's site and that site is non-obvious, that is between you and your employer. Depending on your relationship with your employer, work to get it fixed, organize to get it changed, call your headhunter or wallow in self-pity (and post rants on FT).
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Old Apr 30, 17, 4:51 pm
  #1475  
 
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Originally Posted by threeoh View Post
Let's look at ORD-LGA on June 7th:

United normal Economy: $95, 5 flight options (and many more for a few dollars more)
United Basic Economy: $80, 5 flight options (same)
Spirit: $54 with only 2 flight options

If I don't mind flying at 6am or 6pm, don't need a bag, and don't have somewhere to be, I'll probably be on Spirit. If I need a bag, care about IRROPS, or want to fly mid-day, I'll probably be on United BE. If I want SDC or am flying with someone and want to sit next to each other, I'll probably be on normal Economy.

Maybe I'm their target audience?
Had you booked two or so weeks ago you would've gotten a free carry on, seat assignment, and etc. for $80! @:-) Time travel machine required.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 5:17 pm
  #1476  
 
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Maybe something covered in the 99 previous pages, only some of which I've read.

Say a non-status passenger buys a BE fare. Can I, using my benefits as a 1K, call and have that passenger moved up to E+ using *my* benefits if I'm booked on anything other than a BE fare?
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Old Apr 30, 17, 5:27 pm
  #1477  
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Originally Posted by bmr12 View Post
.... Say a non-status passenger buys a BE fare. Can I, using my benefits as a 1K, call and have that passenger moved up to E+ using *my* benefits if I'm booked on anything other than a BE fare?
The BE passenger is not eligible for a seat change. They can not even purchase E+ access or use their E+ subscription.
If they are an elite, they regain some of their elite privileges.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 8:52 pm
  #1478  
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Originally Posted by bmr12 View Post
Say a non-status passenger buys a BE fare. Can I, using my benefits as a 1K, call and have that passenger moved up to E+ using *my* benefits if I'm booked on anything other than a BE fare?
Nope. That ticket cannot get an advance seat assignment. Doesn't matter who they are flying with.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 9:36 pm
  #1479  
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Originally Posted by bmr12 View Post
Maybe something covered in the 99 previous pages, only some of which I've read.

Say a non-status passenger buys a BE fare. Can I, using my benefits as a 1K, call and have that passenger moved up to E+ using *my* benefits if I'm booked on anything other than a BE fare?
i hope not. People need to be aware of the limitations of a BE fare and if they don't want those limitations, they need to buy one that doesn't have them. A 1K doesn't even get to sit in E+ themselves on BE, why a companion booked in BE could is beyond me.

Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
I am not complaining about the fare ... but I am complaining that there is no seat assignment, no luggage, no Elite benis no nothing ... when you pay that much. That is new ... and unacceptable IMO
Yes, you are complaining about the fare. The fare benefits are what you get for buying that specific fare. So saying you are complaining that there is no seat assignment, etc. is saying: I want the lower fare, but still want the benefits of the higher fare. It's like buying lawn seats to a concert at the amphitheater, and saying you aren't complaining about the $20 price tag of your tickets, but just that you don't get a seat in the 5th row, which costs $100 more. You don't get that benefit at that price level. Or even closer, buying a W fare, and complaining it isn't refundable. If you want to pay the W fare, that's fine. But expecting that you get a refund if you cancel is really your problem - you knew what it included at time of purchase.

Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
This is demonstrably false. Delta announced several times that the goal was to roll these fares out across the domestic network and it is doing precisely that.
Yup. As I said in my last post in this thread, as an example, Delta E fares are available on CVG-YYZ,
a route that not only Spirit doesn't serve on either end, but one that is only served by legacies - Frontier, Allegient, SouthWest don't serve YYZ at all. I've asked how DL could only be targeting LCC markets if they offer fares on this route - and strangely enough, no answer yet.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 10:26 pm
  #1480  
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Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post

Yup. As I said in my last post in this thread, as an example, Delta E fares are available on CVG-YYZ,
a route that not only Spirit doesn't serve on either end, but one that is only served by legacies - Frontier, Allegient, SouthWest don't serve YYZ at all. I've asked how DL could only be targeting LCC markets if they offer fares on this route - and strangely enough, no answer yet.
DL never said it would "only" be targeting LCC markets with BE fares. One of the first routes to have BE fares was DTW-ERI.
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Old May 1, 17, 12:04 am
  #1481  
 
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It seems like *Gs are the big winners here as they lose basically nothing except $75 SDC, $200 change, and advance seat assignment in E-. Do you see them going the way of LH and cutting free bags for BE fares for *G?
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Old May 1, 17, 7:51 am
  #1482  
 
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My "opinion" is that UA is disguising a fare hike by implementing BE that can exist in almost any fare bucket (except Y and B). If this is successful for UA, you can bet that DL will adjust their program, and AA would likely follow in suit too based on all prior instances of program changes with the airlines (PQD for instance, as well as RDM's being revenue based).

Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 1, 17 at 3:06 pm Reason: Removed quote of deleted material
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Old May 1, 17, 8:48 am
  #1483  
 
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Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
My "opinion" is that UA is disguising a fare hike by implementing BE that can exist in almost any fare bucket (except Y and B). If this is successful for UA, you can bet that DL will adjust their program, and AA would likely follow in suit too based on all prior instances of program changes with the airlines (PQD for instance, as well as RDM's being revenue based).
I think it is fact that United is using BE to hike fares. Of course, I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to increase fares. The market will ultimately decide if the fare increase sticks, or if United needs to retreat.
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Old May 1, 17, 9:30 am
  #1484  
 
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I think it's shady, but it will be largely successful, and other legacy airlines will adopt the principle. More will depend on if there are PR nightmares that result from this. People paying high $ for BE tickets (even if it's the pax's fault) is going to create some tension.
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Old May 1, 17, 11:34 am
  #1485  
 
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Originally Posted by fly18725 View Post
I think it is fact that United is using BE to hike fares. Of course, I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to increase fares. The market will ultimately decide if the fare increase sticks, or if United needs to retreat.
Originally Posted by jjmoore View Post
I think it's shady, but it will be largely successful, and other legacy airlines will adopt the principle. More will depend on if there are PR nightmares that result from this. People paying high $ for BE tickets (even if it's the pax's fault) is going to create some tension.
I also think it is shady, it is basically a bate and switch by United, to try to cover up charging more than the competitor: "We offer this $289/fare, same fare as Delta/AA, but well, you get treated like crap... But for a mere $5/10/15 each way we will treat you just like you could have gotten treated on DL/AA (ok, a little worse, but who is kidding, we are Untied Airlines)"

People untimately are not stupid, and it will either be they book the BE and it is "fool me once, shame on your, fool me twice, shame on you" or they figure it out and book the airline that is cheaper (DL/AA).

And note that the non-competitiveness on price comes in higher fare brackets where DL is not offering these "discounted service" fares.
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