Yet Another Reason Not To Book United Basic Economy

Jun 19, 2017

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Online check in has made what can be a pretty time-consuming airport experience a much shorter one — especially so for the time-sensitive business traveler who goes from meeting room straight onto the plane with only a cabin-sized bag in tow.

TPG reader Karina, however, had the exact opposite experience, thanks to United’s Basic Economy fares.

United Basic Economy

Counterintuitively, it seems like travelers who have purchased basic economy (BE) fares with United and are not bringing a checked bag will have to join the line at the check-in counters and see a United representative to get their seat assignments and boarding pass.

Recall that among the seemingly endless limitations that come with this cheaper fare (no advance seat assignments, no ticket changes and refunds, no elite mileage earning nor upgrade eligibility) full-sized carry on bags are also not permitted — BE passengers are only allowed one carry-on item that fits the size requirements of a personal item (no roller bags).

United Basic Economy
Only one personal item is allowed onboard for Basic Economy passengers

With this no-online-check-in move, it’s pretty clear that United is trying to screen BE passengers for their carry-ons and enforce the size restriction. While elite flyers, United MileagePlus Explorer Card and United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card cardmembers are excluded from this rule, it seems like this online check-in “ban” will still apply.

Has anyone else encountered this issue? Let us know in the comments, below.

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