The United Airlines Basic Economy Fare and What it Means For You

Next time you're booking a United Airlines ticket, you may notice an option now known as "United Basic Economy". Excitingly enough for the budget traveler, this new air fare option will have the potential to save you a few dollars by offering you the lowest priced seats on a specific flight. But before you start calculating how many mimosas this fare option will earn you, make sure you know what it entails! Here is who we think might benefit from the air fare and why.

The Limitation: Seat Selection and Upgrades Unavailable

What it Means: Your seat will be automatically assigned and there is nothing you can do to change it, including purchasing an upgrade for Economy Plus or spending miles for a free upgrade. Watch out for this, even for MileagePlus members!

Who This Works Best For (and who it doesn’t): Don’t go for this fare if you cannot stand the middle seat and you have a long flight ahead of you. However, if you’re a tolerant flyer and/or you’re booking a short flight, go for it!

The Limitation: Group Seating is Unavailable

What it Means: You will not be able to sit with anyone else you are booking the flight with.

Who Should Avoid: Families – especially those with younger members. If you feel strongly about sitting with anyone travelling on the same flight, this isn't the fare option for you (conversely, this ticket could be the perfect excuse to take a break from a coworker who just talks too much inflight).

Who Should Take Advantage: Solo travelers. No fellow travelers, no problem!

The Limitation: Only one personal Item Allowed - No Full Sized Carry-on

What it Means: The personal item must be 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches or less. Think briefcase, purse, or backpack, anything that will fit underneath the seat in front of you.

Who Should Avoid: The Light Traveler – there has been a movement in the last few years to ditch the check in luggage and just pack up a wheeled carry-on. The benefits of this method (usually) include less fees, less hassle, and less lost luggage. However, if this is your travel style, you may want to skip the economy basic fare!

Who Should Take Advantage: If you like to dump your suitcase at the agents feet at check in and not see your belongings again until you’re at your destination, then you shouldn’t have a problem with this ticket! Make sure your personal item can fit underneath the seat in front of you. The idea behind this fare is that you do not get any overhead space.

The Limitation: No Flight Changes or Refunds

What it Means: Once your flight has been booked, you can’t make any changes to your itinerary. Only book this fare if you know you won’t need any flexibility in your schedule.

The Limitation: You will be Place in the Last Boarding Group

What it Means: You will be in the last group to be called to board. There isn’t really a down side to this, as you won’t have anything to put in the overhead space anyway! Instead of standing in line in the jet way and then the aisle of the plane waiting for other people to arrange their bags and get sorted, you can just waltz on towards the end of boarding with no wait and hop right in to your waiting seat.

The Limitation: Certain MileagePlus and Premier Benefits are not Available

What it Means: While you will still get miles for the trip, there are other benefits you lose from choosing this economic fare. To see a full list, or for more details on anything outlined above, click here.