United Airlines is the first major US airline to offer a fare without overhead bin space. Apparently United is trying to be the new Spirit Airlines. This is just another step down as flying conditions continue to worsen with shrinking legroom, decreasing overhead space, devaluation of airline loyalty programs. Now the idea of trying to stuff my overhead bag under the seat in front of me is giving me renewed nightmares.
The new Basic Economy fare is just that; the most basic fare you can buy. You can still purchase a normal economy fare, which will give you access to an overhead bin and immediate seat assignment, but it will be more expensive than a Basic Economy fare. United claims they are trying to provide options for travelers who have limited baggage. This move seems more like they are planning to slowly transition to fares which charge us for carry-on luggage. Airlines will do almost anything to make a few more dollars for their shareholders.
Delta introduced a Basic Economy fare earlier this year, which don't include seat assignment until check-in and are ineligible for upgrades. It’s a similar concept but at least our sacred overhead space was left untouched.
Maybe it’s my cynical nature, but I’m not a fan. This new United concept might not seem like much but we’re slowly seeing the basic amenities we've come to expect, slowly erode over time. Gone are the days when you got a pillow, free meal, and adequate leg room on an economy flight.
Watch out for those Basic Economy fares next time you’re searching for a cheap flight. There would be nothing worse than boarding and realizing you don’t have any overhead space. On a positive note, at least United introduced those delicious Stroopwafels last year, but those Dutch treats don’t make up for their latest blunder.
Lead Photo: Courtesy of United