Warning Before Booking United Basic Economy

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Have you flown on a United Basic Economy before? If so, then you’re likely aware of all the restrictions that come with this type of fare such as not being able to make any changes, not being able to select your seat in advance etc. however one restriction which you may not be aware of is the carry-on baggage allowance when booking a Basic Economy fare on United.

With United, you’re NOT allowed to bring a free carry-on bag. If you’re attempting to bring a carry-on, you’ll be stopped at the gate and will be forced to gate check your bag, however you’ll be charged the normal $25 checked bag fee plus an additional $25 gate handling charge.

You’ll be out $50 for trying to bring a rollaboard on the plane when on a United Basic Economy ticket. Be sure to take this into consideration before booking your next Basic Economy ticket on United.

United explains,

You’re not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you’re a MileagePlus Premier member or companion traveling on the same reservation, the primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star Alliance™ Gold member. Everyone else who brings a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate will be required to check their bag and pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge.

You are allowed one small personal item that fits under the seat in front of you, such as a shoulder bag, purse, laptop bag or other item that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) or less. Mobility aids, assistive devices and medical devices including breast pumps are also permitted.

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.

Bottom Line

Essentially, these restrictions are even stricter than RyanAir’s baggage allowance. RyanAir forces passengers on their cheapest fares to gate check their rollaboard bags, however it’s done at free of charge for passengers. Charging $50 to check a rollaboard at United can be a costly endeavor if you’re not aware of the implications!

Have you purchased a United Basic Economy ticket before? Were you aware of the restrictions that come with these fares? Feel free to add your comments below.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

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  1. Just avoid United at all costs. American and Delta do not have the same restrictions on Basic Economy

  2. Wow…I just found out the hard way about this policy. Not the check bag fee….but the ridiculous laptop bag check in requirement. If you only have a laptop bag you can’t check in fully online or use your phone. United forces you to go to a counter! In the last 5 years of business travel I have not had to do that. I have a one day travel and only need the clothes on my back and my laptop. I have the United app….can’t fulky check in with Basic Economy. Says I must go to counter. Even Spirit and Frontier let you check in online. This is a huge fail on United part.

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