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UA Inconsistent Messaging re Basic Econ - full-size carry on

UA Inconsistent Messaging re Basic Econ - full-size carry on

Old Dec 31, 2023, 2:47 pm
  #1  
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Exclamation UA Inconsistent Messaging re Basic Econ - full-size carry on

I've been looking at a number of fares in Basic Economy, both fully domestic (within the US) and Canada-US. At the purchase stage, United has a pop up [see below] requiring actual acknowledgement of the BE limitations, but strongly suggests that a full-size carry on is permitted on board.

This flies completely in the face of the limitations described in the Basic Economy section here, where a plain reading suggests that a full-size carry on is not permitted on board for BE tickets, at any price (in fact, they are to be checked at the gate at the checked bag fee + $25).

Now, based on the below, I would suggest that UA's representations are sufficiently unclear as to confuse even a sophisticated purchaser of travel. To be clear, we are not talking about Transatlantic or Transpacific international itineraries.

What say the UA experts of the forum (both based on this graphic, as I explained it, and their personal experience)?


Print screen

Last edited by NovacYTO; Dec 31, 2023 at 2:59 pm Reason: Highlighted gist of post
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 2:55 pm
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Do you have UA status or a Chase card?
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 2:58 pm
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This is a non-status, no CC situation

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
Do you have UA status or a Chase card?
To clarify, the print screen is a general public (not logged in) search on the UA site.

Specifically to IAH-OIL-TRASH's question: I don't have any status or card that would entitle me to any priority boarding or free checked bags on a BE fare; or a full-size carry on for that matter [unless UA's print screen messaging is to be beloieve)
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 3:02 pm
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What is the destination? (origin is Canada?) What is the fare class?
14 / 17H outbound?
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 3:04 pm
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Maybe UA's added to/from Canada as an exception? Maybe to be aligned w/ partner Air Canada?
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Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Dec 31, 2023 at 3:36 pm
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 3:12 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
What is the destination? (origin is Canada?) What is the fare class?
14 / 17H outbound?
Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
Maybe UA's added to/from Canada as an exception?
This specific pop up is for a YYZ-ORD-LAX-HNL booking as Basic Economy in K class for YYZ-ORD-LAX and N class for LAX-HNL.
BUT, I get the same pop up message when I try just YYZ-LAX as a one-way, single flight, booking in K (still as BE).

Do we think this is an ex-Canada specific dispensation? And why? There is nothing on the UA website that I know of that differentiates BE entitlements other than for flights to South America, or International Transatlantic/Transpacific.

So the inconsistency "thickens"...

The pop-up to be acknowledged is clear that:
(1) "[Non-status passenger [b]may] bring a full-sized carry-on bag on board" [my emphasis]
(2) as per footnote #2, "Your carry-on bag should fit in the overhead bin. The maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 centimeters x 35 centimeters x 56 centimeters). This includes handles and wheels."

VS.


I just purchased a ticket [with ability to cancel within 24 hours] via UA.com, after acknowledging the pop up, and received the confirmation email and e-ticket with the following generic annotation:
[United emphasis in text below. Bolding and links as per their email]

Basic Economy onboard bag policy

Carry-on bags: You’re allowed a small personal item that fits under the seat in front of you, such as a shoulder bag, purse, laptop bag or other small item, 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) or less. Mobility aids and other devices are also permitted. You’re not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you’re a MileagePlus Premier member, primary member of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or Star Alliance™ Gold member. If you bring a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate, your bag will be checked and subject to the applicable checked bag fee and $25 gate handling charge. View our baggage policies. Due to FAA regulations, operating carriers may have different carry-on requirements. Please check with the operating carrier for more information or go to united.com/baggage.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 31, 2023 at 3:30 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 3:24 pm
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Canada is (now) pricing using international rules, this is a change. Domestic BE is always N, international BE uses the normal fare classes

A N class domestic ticket, SFO-ORD in Feb


Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 31, 2023 at 3:32 pm Reason: this is a change
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 3:36 pm
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If you buy that ticket, I would print out the screen (ideally in such a way that it’s clear what itinerary it applies to) and take it with me to the gate. If the gate agent wants to charge you for the bag, show the print out. If they don’t accept it, pay and later contact UA for a refund (and if necessary file a DOT complaint).
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Canada is pricing using international rules . Domestic BE is also N, international BE uses the normal fare classes

A N class domestic ticket, SFO-ORD in Feb
Thanks, WineCountryUS. I have figured out that pricing goes by international rules, and allows other fare classes (incl. N, but not limited to N) to be sold/combined as Basic Economy. However, I am not sure that BE privileges (notwithstanding pricing and fare class) are clear ex-Canada.
To exemplify futher, i've tried a HNL-IAH-PTY "international" itinerary, where BE books in T class, but the pop up shows NO full-size carry on. So pricing is based on international rules, but entitlement is "true BE"...

In fact, https://www.united.com/en/us/fly/tra...c-economy.html specifies:
Carry-on bags are not included unless you're flying to South America, across the Atlantic or on an international flight across the Pacific. You can prepay to check a bag or check a carry-on at your gate for the regular bag fee plus an additional $25.
We also have the non-permissive language in my email confirmation from UA, despite the pop-up.

So this is now a two-thread issue:
(1) Specific to me: will I be able to take a full-size carry on this YYZ-HNL itinerary despite the prohibition in the email and the website description? Will gate agents know, especially on the LAX-HNL segment where the fare class is N? Will that (and other segment) BP show "No carry-on"?
(2) General: Shouldn't UA actually ensure correct information is given to passengers? If ex-Canada is an exception, it should be added to the list, together with South America and Int'l TA/TP. And UA should not send emails saying a full-size carry on is not permitted on the ex-Canada itinerary they just sold on the basis that a full-size carry on may be taken on board.

Originally Posted by notquiteaff
If you buy that ticket, I would print out the screen (ideally in such a way that it’s clear what itinerary it applies to) and take it with me to the gate. If the gate agent wants to charge you for the bag, show the print out. If they don’t accept it, pay and later contact UA for a refund (and if necessary file a DOT complaint).
I agree. Thanks for the suggestion and for the sanity check. I might even be proactive about it, given that the flights are months away...

The problem remains that paying the fee (and trying to recoup later) at the gate still gets the bag checked (i.e. not allowed in the cabin), which is a problem if the carry-on has items that cannot be checked (or that are too valuable, e.g. electronics, as per CoC).
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 31, 2023 at 4:04 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 4:11 pm
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One more note for any other travellers running into this issue:
My ex-Canada Basic Economy ticket has the following endorsement line: NRF-BE/NOCHGDAFTDPT/NOASR
vs
It appears from a few searches, that carry-on restricted BE tickets have and additional endorsement (which mine does not have): NONREF/NOCHGS/NOCBBG/NOASR
Of course, given the inconsistency on the website and during the sale process, UA gate agents may be under a similar misapprehension about what is permitted. So the proof will be in the pudding on the day of travel...
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by NovacYTO
....
(1) Specific to me: will I be able to take a full-size carry on this YYZ-HNL itinerary despite the prohibition in the email and the website description? Will gate agents know, especially on the LAX-HNL segment where the fare class is N? Will that (and other segment) BP show "No carry-on"?.....
This is simple, if your have an N ticket, you will be BG6 and not allowed to carry on a bag.

What is a little strange is on an international BE ticket the domestic segment is usually not a N ticket, do you have a long stop at LAX?? Are your bags being checked thru at LAX?

As for the documentation being out of date, yes UA is slow at times getting all the different web pages updated -- it could be that simple.

The fare rules for the earlier SFO-ORD states NO CARRYON BAGGAGE
NOTE - THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS INFORMATIONAL AND NOT
VALIDATED FOR AUTOPRICING.
BASIC ECONOMY OW/RT UNBUNDLED FARES
APPLICATION
CLASS OF SERVICE
THESE FARES APPLY FOR ECONOMY CLASS SERVICE.
TYPES OF TRANSPORTATION
FARES GOVERNED BY THIS RULE CAN BE USED TO CREATE
ONE-WAY/ROUND-TRIP JOURNEYS.
CAPACITY LIMITATIONS
SEATS ARE LIMITED.
OTHER CONDITIONS
NON REFUNDABLE FARES
NO PRERESERVED SEATS
NO CARRYON BAGGAGE
UNUSED COUPONS HAVE NO RESIDUAL VALUE
NO ROUNDTRIP ITINERARIES DISPLAYED/SOLD WITH
OTHER AIRLINES
--------------------------------------
AUTO PRICING REQUIRED - FORCED/MANUAL PRICING
WILL BE SUBJECT TO A DEBIT MEMO.


The Canada - USA BE fares rules do not include the carryon restriction -- the popup is correct
NOTE - THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS INFORMATIONAL AND NOT
VALIDATED FOR AUTOPRICING.
BASIC ECONOMY OW/RT UNBUNDLED FARES
APPLICATION
CLASS OF SERVICE
THESE FARES APPLY FOR ECONOMY CLASS SERVICE.
TYPES OF TRANSPORTATION
FARES GOVERNED BY THIS RULE CAN BE USED TO CREATE
ONE-WAY/ROUND-TRIP JOURNEYS.
CAPACITY LIMITATIONS
SEATS ARE LIMITED.
OTHER CONDITIONS
NON REFUNDABLE FARES
NO PRERESERVED SEATS
UNUSED COUPONS HAVE NO RESIDUAL VALUE
NO ROUNDTRIP ITINERARIES DISPLAYED/SOLD WITH
OTHER AIRLINES
--------------------------------------
AUTO PRICING REQUIRED - FORCED/MANUAL PRICING
WILL BE SUBJECT TO A DEBIT MEMO.


The UA systems will follow the fare rules, which the ticket endorsement reflect, not an out of date webpage

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 31, 2023 at 4:31 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 4:32 pm
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Originally Posted by NovacYTO
One more note for any other travellers running into this issue:
My ex-Canada Basic Economy ticket has the following endorsement line: NRF-BE/NOCHGDAFTDPT/NOASR
vs
It appears from a few searches, that carry-on restricted BE tickets have and additional endorsement (which mine does not have): NONREF/NOCHGS/NOCBBG/NOASR
Of course, given the inconsistency on the website and during the sale process,
what is the inconsistency in the booking process? You booked a canade basic exonomy fare, which is eligible for a carry on and the display gave a green check for it when describing the restrictions. Your ticket is properly endorsed for a canada basic economy fare, which means you have the proper fare basis.

As long as you haven‘t created a fare break in the US, there should be no issue. If you want people to validate fuerher, go under my trips and view the fare rules. You can post just the fare basis and people would be able to advise you.

edit: you certainly have a fare break if you‘re getting N on one of the segments. But I‘m curious what day or how you‘re searching - your original screenshot is showing only the 2 stop options when there are multiple 1 stops available. Even when I dig to find those 2 stops it‘s not creating fare breaks.

Last edited by Lux Flyer; Dec 31, 2023 at 4:49 pm
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 5:13 pm
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In summary
The Popup allows carryon for Canada-USA BE
The ticket endorsement agrees with the popup
The fare rules agrees with the popup
The ticket class is not N fare class

and one web page, that few will check, neglects to mention this recent change of allowing carryon for transborder flights.

I would feel safe taking a carryon on the first flight.

However, the LAX-HNL farebreak needs explanation and will be a carryon problem.
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
... As long as you haven‘t created a fare break in the US, there should be no issue...
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
... What is a little strange is on an international BE ticket the domestic segment is usually not a N ticket, do you have a long stop at LAX?? Are your bags being checked thru at LAX? ...
I have not intentionally created a fare break. This was booked direct via UA.com, as a one-way ticket. The LAX transfer (layover) is 1h35. It is not a stopover as per normal usage of the word or as per the definition in the fare rules. I would very much assume that paid checked bags will be checked through (and YYZ has pre-clearance, so Canada-US segment arrives as "domestic") and United email quotes the CAD$30 for the first checked bag for the entire YYZ-HNL journey.

That said, I have saved the fare rules in full. It would appear that the mechanics of the fare construction rely on some kind of add-on combination, as follows:

I normally assume fare class is reflected by the first character of the fare basis code. This is not so here.

Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
what is the inconsistency in the booking process? You booked a canade basic exonomy fare, which is eligible for a carry on and the display gave a green check for it when describing the restrictions.
  • yes, the proper check mark was in the pop up;
  • no, the website does not exempt ex-Canada BE from the full-size carry on prohibition [I take WineCountryUA's point that "UA is slow at times getting all the different web pages updated"]
  • yes, the "[reservation] processing email" says I can have a full-size carry on;
  • no, the "eTicket Itinerary and Receipt email" sent to me, for this specific itinerary, says I cannot take one ("You’re not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you’re a MileagePlus Premier member, primary member of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or Star Alliance™ Gold member.");
  • yes, the endorsement appears consistent with the pop-up, in that it does not include the NOCBBGnotation;
  • no, the fare rules which should be the main go to don't sufficiently resolve the issue. In fact, fare basis code KAA4HFBN (used by UA for one-way construction) has the following under Reservation and Ticketing: "BASIC ECONOMY OW/RT UNBUNDLED FARES NON REFUNDABLE FARES NO PRERESERVED SEATS NO CARRYON BAGGAGE UNUSED COUPONS HAVE NO RESIDUAL VALUE". But that same fare rule does not require the endorsement NOCBBG;

Originally Posted by Lux Flyer
... If you want people to validate fuerher, go under my trips and view the fare rules. You can post just the fare basis and people would be able to advise you....
I wouldn't mind the futher validation, even though I recognize this may be a rare case of UA-initiated fare construction that was not fully thought out (which UA.com did all on its own--I am discovering this just now, as I am digging further).

KNA5A0BA has no language about carry ons (so permitted). KAA4HFBN has some language prohibiting carry ons. Normal interpretation rules (i.e. most restrictive rule applies to the entire journey) would allow UA to prevail if they denied me a full-size carry on. But of course, the numerous inconsistencies in the booking process would likely undermine such UA argument. I can advocate for myself. But what is a poor, even detail-oriented, passenger to do other than throw their hands up in frustration [or pay up for a non-BE fare]?
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Old Dec 31, 2023, 5:31 pm
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Suspect your problem is partially due to having a fare break and separate segments with inconsistent carryon rules. This is not a common issue and UA had stated it would not allow this combination due to the obvious issues. Don't believe this combination of fare types have been reported by others on a single PNR. Can you provide some detail on how you made this booking? Did you use multi-city? What is the complete routing?

Eventual I would be tempted to get UA to fix the LAX-HNL segment (at no added cost to you but you will need a knowledgeable agent and maybe get a more direct routing). This is an odd ball case.
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