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United Refines Basic Economy Product

Date: February 4, 2018

On Friday, February 2, 2018, United announced a refinement to the Basic Economy product in a stated effort “to address both customer and employee feedback, as well as make the product more competitive with other airlines.”

The company rolled out new functionality which will create an opportunity for Basic Economy customers to purchase an advance, standard economy seat assignment up to 24 hours prior to departure. This will assist Basic Economy customers, such as those traveling with small children, a simple way to ensure they sit together if they need to, while still purchasing a Basic Economy fare.

Highlights of the changes to Basic Economy include the following:

  • Basic Economy customers will be able to access the standard economy seat map from time of purchase and up to 24 hours prior to their flight. If they elect to select advance seat assignments, they will be directed to pay the fee associated with the selected seat(s).
  • Seat assignments are not available within 24 hours of departure. Customers will receive their seat assignment either at check-in or at the departure gate, just as they did before.  

Customer Service and Customer Contact Center employees are being made aware of these changes to the Basic Economy structure.

Basic Economy is a fare option created for price-sensitive customers and provides yet another choice in their onboard experience. Since its inception in April 2017, the benefits of the program we’ve seen include faster boarding times, fewer gate-checked bags, fewer flights with full overhead bins, fewer delays attributable to carry-on bags and an increase in overall customer satisfaction.

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