Skift Take

United surprised the airline community when it announced that its basic economy fares wouldn't allow for free overhead carry-on luggage this week. To many, that makes its upcoming basic economy fare worse than the competition. But will mainstream passengers care?

What to Know Now

More details on United’s upcoming basic economy fares came out last week and the perks are leaner than many expected. More prominent among the planned upcoming fees: Starting next year, passengers booked in basic economy will have to pay extra to bring an overhead bag on the aircraft. Additionally, passengers won’t be able to accrue elite qualifying miles on the fares.

These two changes are a direct departure from the basic economy fares that Delta is currently offering and to many, are pretty big drawbacks to the product. But under the new United run by Oscar Munoz, revenue is king — and if it makes money, it’s worth pursuing.

It’s still not clear which routes will operate with the new pricing or when the product will roll out, but one thing is certain: Passengers booking United’s basic economy fares are about to get a lot less than on other competing products.

Your move American.

Social Quote of the Day


@RenesPoints it’s market segmentation. The fare targets the infrequent, brand-neutral/agnostic pax. Pax have more choice & control. @united

– @hharteveldt | Henry Harteveldt, Airline, hotel and travel industry analyst



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Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin

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Tags: low-cost carriers, skift business newsletter, skift business traveler, united airlines

Photo credit: Seats in United Airlines' Economy Plus section. Passengers who buy the airline's cheapest fares will need to walk right by this section of seats. United Airlines

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