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Basic Economy frequently asked questions

The basics

Q: What is Basic Economy?
A:
United has introduced a new fare option, called Basic Economy, which is available on select routes and in addition to standard United Economy® fares. Created for our customers who may be more price-sensitive, these lower-priced fares provide most of the same inflight services and amenities that are available with standard Economy – such as food and beverages, United Wi-FiSM and inflight entertainment – but with some important restrictions that you'll want to be sure to review carefully before booking. Please see the Basic Economy page for details on these restrictions.

Q: Which flights offer Basic Economy fares?
A:
Basic Economy fares are available on select routes. If available for a particular flight, the Basic Economy option will be displayed on the search results page on united.com and on the "Choose your travel experience" section of the United app.

Seats

Q: Will I be able to choose a seat when I purchase a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
No, customers with Basic Economy tickets are not eligible to choose their seats. Your seat will be automatically assigned to you prior to boarding, and you won't be able to change your seat once it's been assigned.

Q: If I'm traveling with my family, can we sit together if I purchase Basic Economy tickets?
A:
Customers traveling together, including families, will not be able to sit together.

Q: When will my seat be assigned with a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
If you're traveling on a Basic Economy ticket, your seat will be assigned prior to boarding.

Q: Can I purchase an Economy Plus® seat with a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
No, customers with Basic Economy tickets are not eligible to purchase Economy Plus seating. Also, MileagePlus Premier® members will not be eligible for complimentary Economy Plus seating.

Q: How is seating assigned for unaccompanied minors traveling on a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
Seat assignments can be made for unaccompanied minors. To receive a seat assignment for an unaccompanied minor, please call the United Customer Contact Center after your booking is complete and you have paid the unaccompanied minor fee. See our Children Traveling Alone page for more information about travel for unaccompanied minors.

Q: I have a disability that requires me to sit in a particular type of seat when I travel. Can I purchase a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
Yes, certain seats are made available to customers with a disability if the request is made at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled flight. Please call the United Customer Contact Center after your booking is complete to receive a seat assignment. We also recommend visiting our Seating Accommodations page for more information.

Check-in

Q: How does the check-in process work with Basic Economy tickets?
A:
With Basic Economy, you'll only be able to check in for your flight through united.com or the United app if you indicate that you're checking a bag. To check your bag, you'll go to a check-in counter or designated kiosk in the airport lobby. If you begin check-in and do not indicate that you're checking a bag, you'll need to finish checking in for your flight at the airport.

Baggage

Q: What is my carry-on baggage allowance when I buy a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
With Basic Economy, you'll be allowed to bring on board one personal item that fits under the seat in front of you, such as a shoulder bag, purse, laptop bag or other small item that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) or less. Mobility aids and other assistive devices are also permitted. You will not be allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you're a MileagePlus Premier member, a primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star AllianceTM Gold member. If you're traveling on a Basic Economy ticket and bring a carry-on bag to the gate, your bag will need to be checked and you'll be required to pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge (payment by credit card only). Please see the Carry-on Baggage page for more information.

Q: What if I exceed my carry-on allowance?
A:
If you're traveling on a Basic Economy ticket and bring a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate, your bag will need to checked and you'll be required to pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge (payment by credit card only). MileagePlus Premier members, primary cardmembers of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card and Star Alliance Gold members are still allowed a full-sized carry-on bag. Please see the Carry-on Baggage page for more information.

Q: What is my checked baggage allowance when I buy a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
Basic Economy tickets have the same checked baggage allowance as standard Economy tickets, with the allowance based on your flight and MileagePlus status, but will include an additional gate handling charge for customers who check baggage at the gate. Customers with a baggage subscription will still receive their checked bag allowance. Please see the Checked Baggage page for more information.

Q: If I require a collapsible wheelchair or other assistive medical device, will I be able to carry on my devices with a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
Yes, travelers will still be allowed to carry on approved assistive devices in addition to a personal item when traveling on a Basic Economy ticket. You can find a list of these items as well as other items that do not count as a carry-on bag on our Carry-on Baggage page.

Q: What is the carry-on policy for musical instruments on a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
In the case of customers who purchased a Basic Economy ticket, a small musical instrument may be carried on in addition to a small personal item as long as the instrument can be stowed in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of the customer at the time of boarding. A larger musical instrument that does not fit in the overhead bin due to its size and is brought to the gate will be checked to your final destination and subject to the applicable checked baggage fees plus a $25 gate handling charge (payment by credit card only).

Q: Which qualifying MileagePlus credit cards allow the cardmember to bring a full-sized carry-on bag on board?
A:
If you are a primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card at the time of check-in and you provided your MileagePlus number when purchasing a Basic Economy ticket, you and travel companions on the same reservation will maintain your boarding priority and be allowed to bring a full-sized carry-on bag on board if space permits. Qualifying cards are: MileagePlus Explorer Card, MileagePlus Explorer Business Card, MileagePlus Club Card, MileagePlus Club Business Card, Presidential PlusSM Card, Presidential Plus Business Card, MileagePlus Awards Card, Ixe United Universe Card, and Ixe United Card.

Boarding

Q: Is pre-boarding still allowed for customers who purchase Basic Economy and have a disability or require additional assistance?
A:
Yes, customers with disabilities and customers who require additional assistance will still be allowed to pre-board. In fact, all customers that are allowed to pre-board today will still be able to pre-board with Basic Economy tickets. Please see our Boarding Process page for more information.

Q: If my MileagePlus credit card qualifies for priority boarding benefits, will those benefits apply on Basic Economy tickets?
A:
Yes, if you are a primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card at the time of check-in and you provided your MileagePlus number when purchasing a Basic Economy ticket, you and travel companions on the same reservation will maintain your boarding priority and be allowed to bring a full-sized carry-on bag on board if space permits.

Ticket changes and refunds

Q: Can I change my Basic Economy ticket?
A:
Basic Economy tickets can't be changed once you complete your booking. However, our 24-hour flexible booking policy allows you to cancel a reservation for 24 hours after purchase as long as you completed your purchase one week or more prior to the original scheduled departure flight.

Q: Will my Basic Economy ticket be refunded if I cancel my trip?
A:
Basic Economy tickets will not be refunded if you cancel your trip, except as allowed by our 24-hour flexible booking policy.

Q: What happens if I book a Basic Economy ticket, then my itinerary changes due to a cancellation or schedule change by United?
A:
In the event of any changes made by United, such as rebooking due to a cancellation or schedule change, we will rebook you according to our usual rebooking procedures.

MileagePlus members and Premier benefits

Q: Will I earn award miles for my Basic Economy ticket purchase?
A:
Yes, MileagePlus members will earn award miles for Basic Economy tickets just as they would for standard Economy tickets. See the Earning Miles on United Flights page for more details.

Q: Are my Basic Economy ticket purchases eligible for Premier qualifying dollars and other accruals toward Premier status?
A:
No, MileagePlus members, including MileagePlus Premier members, will not earn Premier qualifying dollars, Premier qualifying miles, Premier qualifying segments or lifetime miles, nor will they earn toward the four-segment minimum. They will still earn award miles based on the fare and their MileagePlus status. See the Earning Miles on United Flights page for more details.

Q: Do MileagePlus Premier benefits apply when purchasing a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
Premier members who purchase Basic Economy tickets are subject to most of the Basic Economy restrictions. However, Premier members will receive the same boarding priority and carry-on allowance as they would receive when traveling on any other fare, and they're still eligible for the complimentary checked baggage allowance they receive with their Premier status.

Q: As a MileagePlus Premier member, will I be able to select a seat in Economy Plus or in the front cabin when flying on a Basic Economy ticket?
A:
No, all travelers with Basic Economy tickets, including MileagePlus Premier members, will not be able to sit in Economy Plus or the premium cabin. This includes complimentary and for-purchase Economy Plus seating, as well as any type of upgrade including paid upgrades, MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, Complimentary Premier Upgrades, Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades.

Q: Will I be able to make a same-day change when flying on Basic Economy?
A:
All customers with Basic Economy tickets, including Premier members, will be unable to make same-day changes. This restriction includes paid same-day changes or same-day standby.

Q: I'm a MileagePlus Premier member — will I still be able to choose an Economy Plus seat?
A:
Customers who purchase a Basic Economy ticket, regardless of Premier level, will not be able to purchase or receive an Economy Plus seat.