See a Replay of Today’s Live Chat About United’s New Basic Economy


Thanks for tuning in to today’s Busker live chat where I talked about United’s new Basic Economy product. The replay of the 19 minute talk is now available for viewing any time at this link. Here’s a summary of my thoughts, but you’ll have to watch the chat to get full details.

  • I like Basic Economy in theory, far better than previous, awful airline-within-an-airline strategies (I’m talking to you, Ted)
  • I’m not happy that United, like Delta, is banning changes and seat assignments (It should be allowed for a high fee.)
  • Charging for carry-ons may actually make United’s boarding process better.
  • The jury will remain out until we actually see how it prices and how it’s displayed when it goes up for sale in January.

I have no use for corporate bullcrap-speak, but you can wade through it in the press release here if you’d like. And again, watch the live chat replay here.

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15 comments on “See a Replay of Today’s Live Chat About United’s New Basic Economy

  1. Sorry, but if UA actually bothers charging for a full size carry-on, I’m out. I don’t do a lot of domestic flying, but when I do, it’s usually short enough trips where I can avoid checking bags. Convenience rules, and the ability to take a mobile boarding pass through TSA Precheck and skip the wait at the baggage claim is king. (Making me take a bag to the ticket counter is the only way carry-on bag fees can speed up the boarding the process.)

    There becomes a point where if I want the Spirit experience, I’ll fly Spirit. I don’t so I don’t. Really, the more inconvenient the airlines make the experience, the easier it is to justify flying less or take alternative modes of transportation. IOW, the more the legacy airlines imitate Spirit and Frontier, the more appealing Southwest becomes.

  2. Doesn’t look like I can play the chat on my phone without downloading the Busker app. Not going to do that.

  3. I agree, I think you should be able to add those extras for an additional high cost. Otherwise, that is just money left on the table. A few years ago, I fly United to Ghana and tried to change my flight but they refused to for any amount of money. So I booked KLM with Delta miles and United left money on the table.

    1. I can understand not allowing the carry-on luggage at any cost. The seat thing, not so much.

      If all of the Basic Economy passengers board last (except elites) – boarding group 6? — there will be little room for overhead to begin with. Then the gate agents will need to sort out which Basic Economy passengers can bring luggage and which cannot. Which will slow the boarding process even further.

      It is not a type of fare that I purchase, but I am sure the restrictions will be adjusted once the concept has some real world numbers to back it up.

      1. Jeff – Elites board with their normal groups. Only people boarding in group 5 are those who can’t bring carry-ons, so it should improve the process vs today where group 5 bags have to usually be checked anyway.

  4. I don’t know why they even bother, if I’m going to have to pay for a checked bag which has the potential of increasing the fare over what the next tier with hand carry privileges it would be stupid to even try.

  5. No podcast? Don’t need another app. But I do think your web site is the best for aviation travel information

    1. Ian – Just trying out some different mediums. You don’t need the app to listen in. I’ll get feedback soon and decide if I should keep doing any of this audio/video stuff.

      1. As Kilroy and Ian mentioned, no way to listen to the chat replay without downloading the app (at least not on an Android phone) following the links you posted.

        Sorry, but I will skip this one.

  6. It’s not an airline within an airline; it’s an airline within an airliner… if you fly UAL Basic Economy, with only a ‘personal item’ carryon, and sitting wherever they put you, you could say “I’m in a “Spirit seat.” The terms of Basic Economy look pretty similar to what Spirit does.

  7. Congrats. Here’s feedback: Great Busker monologue. High credibility. Your personal and professional aesthetics are natural and very appealing. Over the years, you have become more and more reliable as a spokesman for your

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