United’s new Basic Economy passengers are for an unpleasant surprise if they show up at the gate with a carry-on bag. The new, no-frills fare category from the carrier allows for only a personal item sized to fit under the seat, not a traditionally 20″ rolling suitcase. And, while there has been plenty of debate about how well that can or will be enforced, it seems that the company has decided on what the penalty for non-compliance will be, should passengers be caught.
Yes, if they bring a carry-on bag to the gate, not personal item, they will pay a checked baggage fee and a convenience fee. ^MM
— United Airlines (@united) December 7, 2016
Not only will Basic Economy passengers be expected to pay for checking the bag at the prevailing rates (currently $25/$35 for first and second bag on domestic routes) but there will also be a “convenience fee” added if travelers choose to check the bag at the gate rather than at the ticket counter.
For those who bring them to the gate there is a $25 service fee. Bags checked at check-in, have the standard fee. ^MM
— United Airlines (@united) December 7, 2016
In other words, when you get caught trying to cheat the system expect to pay an extra $25 on top of the checked bag fee. And hope that it gets sorted out quickly so that you don’t end up missing the flight.
Put another way, don’t try to cheat. You’re very likely to get caught and very likely to find the outcome of that unpleasant.
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But this depends on United’s agents who aren’t robots. Don’t you think sometimes they will just quikcly gate check the bag to try to get the flight out. But agree is a #RaceForTheBottom type move.
Having the fine is an essential part of the aim to a) de-clutter the cabin and b) differentiate the product. Other airlines do the same and it works for them, so why not for UA? After all, if paying the fine isn’t practical in the time-frame, then just bump them off the flight and waitlist them for the next flight.
Agreed, and I have no problem with the penalty as such. This was just the first I’d heard of it actually being defined so figured I’d share.
That trend is spreading. I was ‘pleasantly’ surprised (NOT) when I was told Star Gold benefits didn’t apply on the checked bag on my LH flight.
No *G free checked bag on HBO fares in Europe has been a thing for a while now. I think maybe early 2015 that started. I’m looking at a HBO fare on SN in a couple weeks and need to keep my carry-on below 12Kg to make that work.
you still get *G bennies on SK though from what i’ve read, since i got the no checked luggage fare (so i hope)
Do we know how the GA will know it’s a basic economy fare? I’m guessing when they scan the boarding pass it will somehow alert the GA?
I think UA is smart to have these fares, but I do not envy the gate agents during the first few months of implementation. I can just imagine the altercations between uninformed basic econ passengers and gate agents. I hope UA uses 50-font on their website when passengers buy & check in for these fares.
While we do not specifically know what the BP will show I’ve been led to believe that the Basic Economy designation will be incredibly clear on the BP and in the systems. At a minimum these passengers will be relegated to the last boarding group, separate from everyone else.
As for making it clear during the purchase and check-in process, I’ve seen the way Delta identifies its BE fares. And I’d like to believe that passengers aren’t going to legitimately be able to claim they didn’t know. But that won’t stop some from trying to cheat.
I’m confident there will be a few surprised travelers. UA boarding is likely to become even more chaotic than it already is.
Agreed. People buying these fares are probably the last boarding group anyway that never got overhead space for their rollaboards and had to check them since overhead bins were already full. Now they’ll just be making them pay to check them.
This would all be fine with me if the bag fees displayed in the gds
NDC is coming, for good and ill.
What happens if you get a seat with an entertainment box under it, so the personal item can’t fit? Now it’s checked… Is that free?
I don’t feel sorry for those who try to cheat, but there are so many travelers who are simply unaware of these new policies.
I really do not believe that’s true, at least with the airlines selling the Basic Economy products today (UA is not yet). Even the OTAs are warning passengers of the limits with Delta’s basic fares now.
Passengers who have no clue by the time they get to the gate are getting to that point by clicking past numerous warnings. At some point we have to expect that people will take responsibility for their own actions.
Seth I guess you’re right about that. I personally haven’t booked those fares but when booking through 3rd party sites, luggage isn’t always up to date.
Seth is that always the case when booking ‘other’ than at delta.com?
Delta’s website for direct bookings makes it crystal clear – and I applaud them for that.
David: There were problems in the past where OTAs did not call the fares out sufficiently. They’ve gotten much better about it of late. Here’s what Expedia shows now if I pick a DL Basic Economy fare.
Seth yeah that’s pretty decent.
I’d prefer DOT just force all carriers to display quotes with 1 bag. They can discount from that when you actually purchase.
Spirit’s convenience fee is $100 which makes $25 not sound so bad.
Delta’s convenience fee is, conveniently, $0. ?
Anything that addresses the current ridiculous state of hand luggage on US aircraft is a good thing in my opinion. The challenge will be when a third party (parent, relative or significant other) does the bookings and doesn’t convey the restriction to other travellers.
Hopefully they have a warning added to the kiosk / app during the checkin process also which allows them to buy and check in the luggage at that time also.
I know that Spirit includes such warnings pretty aggressively in their check-in process. I am willing to bet that UA will do the same.
This is overhead-bin carry-on only? Not under-the-seat carry-on?
Correct. The new “basic economy” fares will allow an under-seat item but not a typical 22″ bag in the overhead.
(For now….) 😉
SWA was brilliant in that they increased the ticket price but stated, “Bags Fly Free”…dang, they are great at marketing!
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