Caution United Airline Costumers

I don’t usually rant on my blog, use a bit of sarcasm occasionally, but I need to tell you about this latest United pricing scam.  At first blush, Basic Economy sounds really good to us older, OK senior,  flyers.  It seems United is giving us  a pricing break.  Warning, warning !  On second thought, has United EVER given us seniors a price break ?  Hah !

Here’s my story.  I’m headed to Las Vegas for a 3 day workshop called, “The Money Show”.  I’ve attended before and have gotten some very usable advice on money matters pertaining to dividend bearing stocks.  Anyway, I book this amazing Basic Economy non-stop flight from Chicago to Las Vegas, perfect after-noon flight time and great price of $284us.  My other choice was Economy at $50 more.  So I think I’ve found a winner.  Thank you, United.  but……Hold on.  I have to choose a seat, not unusual, but have to pay $12 to reserve it.  Same for the return flight.  Otherwise, it’s like having a ticket but no seat and guess who would get kicked off an over-sold flight first.  Me !  So, not wanting to get bumped at the airport, I pay for the seat and ticket, now it’s $308 round trip.

However, I failed to completely understand United’s new carry-on policy.  There is none.  I mean Basic Economy passengers aren’t allowed to board with a full-size carry-on, just a small personal item, purse, briefcase, etc.  I’m confused at the language.  Does United mean a full size suitcase ?  I don’t understand what a full-size carry-on could be.  So, I attempt to speak with a customer service person.  I’m referred to United’s web site for baggage info.  So I log on and find out that, although the FAA allows a carry-on and a personal item, United has eliminated the carry-on item completely unless you have purchased the Economy plan or are a Premier member.  No such luck there.

The choice I have now is to stuff as much clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. into my briefcase or pay $25 to check my carry-on (one way) and retrieve it at the luggage carousal at McCarran airport in Las Vegas.  Note:  United states that if you show up at check-in with your carry-on, it will be taken from you and put into the checked bag section.  Oh, you still pay the $25 baggage fee, but also a $25 admin fee (credit card only).  If you don’t pay, you will be bumped from the flight.  Now my super cheap flight of $284 will now cost $308 plus $50 for a round-trip baggage check, total so far $358. Sorry I forgot taxes and fees of $48 bringing the final total to $408.

How is this possible ?  I know, I shouldn’t have assumed United would be so generous, but really, $408 and that’s their version of Basic Economy.  Let’s review.  With Economy class you are allowed to bring a carry-on and personal item, and your seats are paid for with your ticket purchase. This is the way I have always traveled.  Shame on United to be so money-hungry as to think their loyal customers would stand by for this tactic.  I wonder if my seat will be on the wing some where.  Gotta pack them in and make more money !  Beware of Basic Economy.  It’s not quite the real deal that it appears.

Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. Learning will nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this website and visit often so you keep learning and growing too!

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