What It’ll Be Like to Fly ‘Basic Economy’ on United Airlines Next Year

United Airlines adds no-frills Basic Economy
Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

United Airlines revealed on Tuesday details about its “Basic Economy” fares available next year.

While the new offering will give passengers options for cheaper airfare, it will also reduce the number of perks they may have come to expect from the airline.

Basic Economy passengers will receive seat assignments on the day of departure, will be in the last boarding group, and will be allowed only one carry-on item—and it will have to fit under the seat in front of them.

“Customers have told us that they want more choice and Basic Economy delivers just that,” Julia Haywood, United's executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said in a statement. In addition to Basic Economy, United offers the following classes on domestic flights: economy, Economy Plus and first class.

Additionally, passengers will not be able to earn rewards when flying on the fares.

The airline is not the first to induce a basic economy feature: Delta has a similar service and American Airlines has announced plans to introduce its own version in 2017. The legacy carriers are following in the footsteps of budget airlines like Ryanair and Spirit Airlines, which have paved the way—for better or worse—for basic air travel.

United's customers can expect prices for Basic Economy to be similar to the lowest market prices currently offered on economy, according to airline spokesman Jonathon Guerin.

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