United Will Now Charge Extra for Some Economy Seats That Aren't Even Premium
It's not the first airline to do so.
First, travelers could pay to upgrade to business or first class. Then, airlines slowly began rolling out premium economy tickets, which cost just a bit more than regular economy fares. Next came fees for extra legroom, and now, United Airlines will officially be charging customers more for some baseline coach seats.
Starting Friday, the airline will charge passengers for “preferred seating.” These seats, CNBC reported, don't come with any perks like extra legroom or free drinks. Instead, the seats are standard economy located behind its Economy Plus section. The airline did not announce just how much more these seats will cost.
However, it should be noted that United isn’t the first airline to charge for preferred economy seating. As CNBC also noted, both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines already charge for preferred seating.
On those airlines, the price per seat varies by aircraft, route, and demand for seats. CNBC found that a customer looking for a preferred seat on a Delta flight from New York City to Los Angeles in early January would have to pay an extra $80 for the seat.
Beyond preferred seating, United also announced it is relaunching its basic economy service on several trans-Atlantic routes. On these flights, passengers who purchase basic economy will only be allowed to bring one carry-on bag. They will be charged for any checked luggage.
But, in a bit of good news, United will let travelers use their basic economy tickets toward elite status in its MileagePlus frequent flier program, which was recently named the Top Airline Loyalty Program in the Americas by the Frequent Traveler Awards. Basic economy ticket holders can earn 50 percent of the qualifying miles and half of a qualifying segment for each flight, TravelPulse reported. To get to silver status, fliers must earn 25,000 miles or have flown on 30 qualifying flights.