No-frills air travel to become available to passengers on United Airlines for those willing to make some sacrifices.
United Airlines has announced the carrier plans to offer a discounted fare for travelers willing to give up certain amenities now seen as standard in exchange for saving a little money on their flights, beginning in 2017.
An article on npr.org says the new fares will be called “Basic Economy” and the new fares seem to be in response to competition from low-cost carriers, such as Spirit, Frontier and Allegient.
Saying United needed to “get the basics right for the price sensitive customer as well,” CEO Oscar Munoz added, “We will not only be more flexible when it comes to price. We’ll also be more efficient operationally by foregoing pre-assigned seating, priority boarding, upgrading the option for last minute changes.”
And that means the cost-conscious passenger will have to decide if the loss of amenities are worth the lower fare. In addition to not being able to pick your own seat, passengers will only be allowed one personal item to be carried on the plane, and it must fit underneath the seat in front of you. Overhead bins will not be available for basic economy fare purchasers.
Any carry-on larger that that will be subjected to a $25 fee for checking at the gate. Since the low-fare travelers will be boarding last, most of the time overhead bin space will be hard to find anyway. Other lost perks are the inability to make changes in your flight, even for a fee, and Basic Economy fare passengers will not be allowed to upgrade to the carrier’s Economy Plus or First Class options.
Like every other change, there are those who think this move is good for them, while others have concerns, if not for this change, but the way the airlines are starting to nickel and dime its customers for services travelers have come to consider as part of the trip.
Still, the standard Economy fare is available for those who don’t want to give up their carry-ons and priority boarding, so the options are still out there for those willing to pay a little more.