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Keeping Their Word: No Carry-Ons For Economy United Airlines Flights

By Sharelle Burt

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If you’re thinking about packing heavy for a cheap seat with United Airlines, you may want to think again.

 

Basic economy ticket holders won’t have the luxury of bringing full-size carry-ons as United Airlines sticks to their guns. The airline won’t allow passengers to bring the extra piece of luggage for overhead bin storage.

 

Announced on Wednesday, the airline offered these fares in competition with low-cost competitors like Spirit Airlines, measuring the success of these super cheap tickets by how many travelers pay the higher fare just to avoid it. While cutting cost on a flight that gets you from point A to point B, there are major stipulations that many travelers just don’t want to deal with like not allowing date changes, no free seat selection in advance, and having to board the plane last.

 

It may be worth it. In a search for a roundtrip United ticket between Newark and Los Angeles in early December, basic economy was $60 cheaper than the $297 fare for regular economy. “The way we designed basic was carefully constructed to allow us to segment our products, to allow us to compete effectively against ultra-low-cost competitors and allow our operation to deliver better results for everybody in terms of on-time departures,” said United’s Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella.

 

While both United and American Airlines introduced basic economy fares in 2017 that didn’t allow passengers to bring an overhead bin sized carry-on, American backed out in September, which brought their product more in line with rival Delta Air Lines. American’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Loyalty, and Sales Kurt Stache said this won’t stop the airline from being in competition. “There are other features of that product that we think will continue to provide us sell-up rates.”

 

Major U.S. airlines have struggled to split their economy seat options into subcategories. High-end seats have more legroom and on longer flights include perks like amenities kits, with basic economy at the low end. Traveler favorite JetBlue announced in September they are planning a similar program of basic economy fares next year.


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