Matching Delta Air Lines, United Airlines has issued a waiver through the end of 2021 making basic economy fares fully flexible
Basic Economy Tickets Are Once Again Flexible On United Airlines
As domestic U.S. travel rebounded, U.S. legacy carriers drew a line on basic economy tickets, reintroducing restrictions on these cheapest subset of tickets while allowing unlimited changes without fee (just difference in fare, if applicable) on other tickets.
But with the delta variant slowly sinking passenger demand, Delta Air Lines recently made basic economy tickets flexible once again through the end of the year. Now United Airlines has matched.
A United spokesperson told me:
As part of an ongoing effort to offer more flexibility, United will allow customers to make changes to all Basic Economy tickets between now and the end of the year. Customers with Basic Economy tickets can already fly standby for free on the same day of travel to the same destination.
This applies not only to future purchases, but retroactively to purchase made on or after April 30, 2021, the day that United’s coronavirus-era waiver on basic economy tickets ended. It also applies to both domestic and international destinations.
More details here. Travel for changed basic economy tickets must begin by the ticket’s original expiration date (12 months from when the ticket was originally issued). Of course, you can upgrade out of basic economy, even on the same flight, if you so choose.
United will still maintain a much stricter carry-on policy than Delta (or American) for basic economy tickets: larger carry-on bags which fit in overhead bins will not be permitted and must be checked at the gate. Basic economy passengers are only permitted a personal item that fits underneath the seat in from of them.
United matches Delta in allowing consumers more flexibility who purchase basic economy tickets. However, carry-on items will remain limited, a longstanding policy meant to dissuade passengers from purchasing basic economy in the first place. With both United and Delta offering more flexibility and travel demand slowing, it is likely we will soon see American Airlines match.
That’s great! But they still do need to include a carry on bag soon!
Perhaps the carry-on bag restriction will go away once the the cabin upgrades to hold now carry-ons in the overheads is complete.
I’m confused. July 19th and July 28th we flew United from STL to ANC via ORD, and returned in the reverse order. We had no issues with carry-ons. We even had my wife’s wheelchair, although we used United’s Narrow Aisle Chair to get her on and off the planes. We flew United Express between STL and ORD both directions.
This is great news – my mother had to sacrifice a ticket 2 days ago due to ever-changing plans (funeral in this case). Looks like she’ll be able to get a credit. Sweet!
Still very iffy when it comes to working through a third party. If you want to cancel due to fear of uncertainty regarding the Delta strain, you are penalized twice. Very heavily penalized at that.