United to Charge Higher Fares for Carry-on Bags

Introducing the 'basic economy' fare
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2016 1:07 PM CST
United to Charge Higher Fares for Carry-on Bags
United Airlines is introducing a "basic economy" fare next year.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Say goodbye to that carry-on bag. USA Today reports United Airlines is rolling out a new "basic economy" fare next year to compete with ultra low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier. United says the basic economy fare will be cheaper but come with a number of restrictions, including prohibiting basic-economy passengers from bringing aboard any carry-on bags that don't fit under the seat. United will be the first US airline to restrict carry-on bags for some passengers, according to Reuters. Basic-economy passengers also won't get to choose their seats ahead of time, will get no guarantee of seats together, will be the last to board, won't earn frequent-flier miles, and won't be able to exchange tickets.

Forbes calls the basic economy fare "both brilliant from a business perspective and contemptuous of consumers at the same time." Despite claims from United about being more affordable for flyers, the prices for basic economy are "comparable" to the fares United currently charges for economy except with a bunch of new restrictions. "Make no mistake...this is a price increase," the Los Angeles Times reports. The Times expects to see an increase in bag-check fees to force passengers to either make up the discount cost in those fees or pay higher fares. United is aiming to make $4.8 billion more per year by 2020. It's shares were up nearly 5% Tuesday with the announcement of the basic economy fare. (Read more United Airlines stories.)

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