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United Airlines Basic Economy - buyer beware

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by yooperguy, Jan 23, 2020.

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  1. yooperguy

    yooperguy Low-Roller

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    Finally pulled the trigger on my June Vegas Poker Trip yesterday.:poker::feedme::drunk::woohoo: I only travel a couple times a year, so don't pay much attention to changes in flights. I booked on Travelocity after watching prices for several weeks. Have never had this happen until now. Found out United Airlines Basic Economy tickets do not include a carry-on. I had not noticed this in the fine print because they have always had free carry-on in the past, so I ASSUMED. They were nice enough to send me a confirmation email which pointed out that I would not be able to bring a carry-on, and if I did, it would cost $50 when I checked in for the flight. ($25 for the bag, $25 processing fee) :cuss::cuss: Luckily, Travelocity has a 24 hour window to change flights, so I was able to cancel and rebook on AA, same price but free carry-on. Had I showed up at boarding and been turned away or fleeced out of $50, I would have blown a gasket, and made national news for sure. Hello, no-fly list.:whistle:

    So I guess my point is buyer beware, read the fine print, never assume anything. Lesson learned.
     
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  2. mikel123

    mikel123 High-Roller

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    United, American and Delta released "Basic Economy" fares to compete with Spirit and Frontier. Avoid anything that says "Basic" like the plague unless you are ok with shoving everything into a backpack and squeezing into whatever middle seat they feel like giving you.
     
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  3. cjcjcj

    cjcjcj High-Roller

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    Yep you need to be sure about what you're buying. Most 3rd party sites will show the lowest fare and really in fine print tell you its a basic econ fare. Be careful!
     
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  4. ChilliPalmer

    ChilliPalmer Low-Roller

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    I simply don’t buy the “Basic fares” for a major carrier. For me it’s not worth the $50ish savings to have:

    - No seat selection
    - No upgrade opportunities
    - No changes even if you pay a fee like a normal ticket
    - United has no carry on
     
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  5. theoldcoach

    theoldcoach Low-Roller

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    Took my mother on a cruise in December. NCL made a free airfare offer. We were placed in the back of the plane. With 92 YO Mom, that would not work.

    Called United, and the rep was nice enough to move us up to the first row behind FC. I asked about luggage. She said our ticket entitled us to 1 checked, 1 overhead, and 1 personal item.

    Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the airport, and the agent asked how I wanted to cover the $30 for each checked bag. I was irate at the time, and absolutely livid after the second fleecing on the way home.

    I sent United a complaint form, outlining exactly what their rep said to me. Imagine my surprise when I was messaged back, apologizing for the confusion. The email stated that they would refund my CC the entire amount. I was more surprised when it happened.

    I will still never do that again. I will stick with Southwest. It requires half the travel (Chicago Midway rather than O’hare), and no airline BS.

    Enjoy!
     
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  6. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Basic Economy is great for a short duration stay (2-3 days), you can save over $100 each leg on certain flights. I just booked a $98 RT flight from Chicago to San Diego on United. You can also select a seat during the booking process for a slight fee (window seats $12 each way). Also, the limitations to Basic Economy fares are explicitly / prominently laid out twice during the booking process on United.com. Perhaps they weren't for the OP on his third party site, but they were when I booked on United.

    For a 1-2 hour flight, I can survive any seat (the size of your seatmates much more important which you cannot control). For a 3-4 + hour flight I am taking a window. I can't find anything close to $122 RT all inclusive with an assigned seat. My backpack works on these types of trips, in fact it's easier traveling within the destination.

    I much prefer this over the SW cattle call, and worrying about checking in exactly 24 hours prior or paying $30-$50 RT for early bird check-in. Also, SWA flights are much more expensive these days, even during "sales". Previously, I would be able to find $98 RT to Vegas at least a few times a year, now $198 RT is hard to find at any time. $298 is the new $98 on SWA from Midway to Vegas. United Basic Fares can be found quite regularly for far cheaper than anything on SWA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  7. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    Every since the mainline carriers came out with these "cheap seat" flights, it continues to amaze folks.

    Good information for less frequent flyers though.
     
  8. zignerlv

    zignerlv VIP Whale

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    Actually, they have had this policy in Basic Economy since 2017, and it is the main reason why I never bother even looking at United's fare pricing.

    So, when you say that United's Basic Economy has always allowed carry-ons in the past, I assume you mean in early 2017, and earlier?

    "United is introducing basic economy, a cheaper — and worse — fare class below economy. First spotted by The Points Guy, the new offering gets rid of seat assignments and elite-qualifying miles, forbids paid upgrades and flight changes, and bans overhead carry-on bags." - Nov 2016

    https://www.theverge.com/2016/11/16/13651412/united-airlines-basic-economy-fares-ban-carry-on-baggage

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/86522900/no-carryon-bags-allowed-in-overhead-compartment-under-united-airlines-new-basic-economy-fares-in-2017
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  9. Ten_On_The_End

    Ten_On_The_End High-Roller

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    I recently got this "personal item" luggage online that is exactly the max size for Spirit and Frontier. It's almost as big as the roller board bag I used to carry. Flying United Basic Economy next month but it's a tad too big so I have a smaller bag, too.

    91hyNVW0gDL._AC_UL320_SR258,320_.jpg
     
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  10. HoppinHardWays

    HoppinHardWays High-Roller

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    United’s website makes this all clear.
     
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  11. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    Really?

    You really mean I/we/they have to READ the rules.

    LOL
    Double LOL
     
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  12. ken2v

    ken2v Wish I was in Bend

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    Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines Visa Card. Seats. Bags. Upgrades. Travel is good.

    (And sometimes SWA.)

    It's just a good reminder with travel, as any consumer activity, to be alert and look around. "Fair" or not, it doesn't take much effort to be a consumer who isn't surprised by anything.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  13. bridude98

    bridude98 Tourist

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    A $25 processing fee, on top of a $25 carry on fee? That's the first time I've heard of that. The airlines are unbelievable
     
  14. IxAccDnf

    IxAccDnf VIP Whale

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    The current trip I'm on I paid $96 for a basic fare on AA
    I have the AA card so 1 bag is free
    For some reason the app let me purchase a seat on the outbound and a few days later let me purchase a seat on the return.
    My flight had free IFE and power ports. ( kept my screen on the flight-tracker)
    My bag was waiting for me when I arrived at baggage claim.
    For $96 and around $20 in seat fees this whole AA experience really sucks
     
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  15. marksind

    marksind VIP Whale

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    Neither United nor American basic economy allow a standard sized carry on. Delta does. Otherwise restrictions are similar. That makes Delta the choice, other things being equal. I booked my wife on United basic economy a couple of months ago, then saw the carry on restriction, fortunately within the 24 hour cancellation window. Delta had a similar flight and fare. Booked that. Worked out fine.
     
  16. ams722

    ams722 Side Bet Shunner

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    I fly solo and always book Delta Basic Economy these days. Haven't had an issue yet. I have the Delta Amex so I still get to board zone 1 and get the first checked bag free (I never bother with a carryon - just a backpack). The only real downside is no seat choice prior to check in, but again, flying solo it's not such a big deal.
     
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  17. zignerlv

    zignerlv VIP Whale

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    Of course, what you said is very true. My experience with all carriers is they are very upfront with telling you what is included. So, I went onto United's website to walk though booking a flight there, and after selecting a Basic Economy flight (which first, by the way, has a ("Most Restrictive") warning on the select screen), this comes up:

    Capture.JPG

    What is not clear about this? Does anyone consider this "fine print", or misleading? Note, even though I selected Basic Economy on the prior screen, they still gray out the Basic Economy choice on this screen, while only Regular Economy is clickable, until you check the box "Basic Economy Works for Me", which is located right under the restrictions!

    I'm quick to jump on companies for BS or misleading practices, but in this case, I don't see how they could be more upfront with the restrictions on Basic Economy.
     
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  18. csu

    csu Tourist

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    I flew my with my family (wife and 3 kids) to Hawaii last year on United basic economy. United wanted like an additional $75 per person, per direction, to 'upgrade' to regular economy. Since we were going for a 10 night stay + kids we weren't carrying on any bags, so that wasn't an issue. They sat us all right together on the flight out and on the first leg of the flight back. For the second leg of the flight back we were all over the place. I asked at the gate to move around based on empty/available seats (which you can see on the app), we did not ask anyone to move out of their booked seat, and it was granted. I wasn't going to pay an extra $750 just to pick economy seats. It was fine, and would have been fine even had they not allowed us to move seats. I would be fine booking another basic economy ticket as long as I wasn't planning on carrying on.
     
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  19. sinnerman

    sinnerman High-Roller

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    I usually get basic economy since I travel alone and I don't care what seats I get. Additionally, I always pack a check-in bag, so I don't need a carry on. But yeah, it is good to be aware.
    Got to Love the $25 processing fee ..."Sir, we need your money to pay for the bag. Unfortunately, for us to perform the action of taking your money, we need even more of your money"

    Borgata AC and some concert venues do this when you book tickets online and they email you the ticket. An additional 'processing' fee
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  20. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    And, as various postings here have indicated, it works great for some people, and not so good for others.

    There is no one best way to fly.


    (except MY way)
     
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