Looking for the cheapest & best way to travel? Then United Basic Economy is the best choice for you. That’s why today we will discuss everything important about United Airlines Basic Economy class. 

From answering questions like – what is basic economy on United, to discussing amenities like United basic economy carry on. And, even discuss the value of this fare class by doing a United Airlines Economy Vs Basic Economy comparison. 

So, let’s start. 

A Brief Introduction – What is Basic Economy on United 

Firstly, to answer the question, “is united economy the same as basic economy?”, no, it is not. The United Basic Economy is the cheapest fare class onboard United Airlines. In order to make sure that everyone can experience flying, regardless of their financial standing, United has the Basic Economy fare class. 

For passengers who are very price sensitive, especially the ones on short-haul flights, this is the best fare class for them. However, the fact that it’s the cheapest fare class, doesn’t mean that it has no services. On the contrary, Basic Economy provides passengers with a suite of amenities & inflight services. 

Thus, allowing passengers to have an enjoyable & comfortable travel experience. So, let’s discuss what these services are. 

Amenities & Inflight Services of United Basic Economy 

If compared to upper fare classes like Business & First Class, Basic Economy lacks a lot of luxurious complimentary services & amenities. However, that is not to say that it provides passengers with some basic allowances & services to ensure a good traveling experience. 

So, let’s talk about the services, one-by-one. And then, move on to make the comparison of United Economy vs Basic Economy.

United Basic Economy Carry on Allowance 

As a rule of thumb, United does not allow free/complimentary Carry-On baggage allowance. However, depending on the route, sometimes it’s possible for passengers of United Basic Economy to be able have carry-on baggage onboard. So, let’s see these routes. 

Traveling To & From Carry-On Eligibility 
Within U.S.  
Central America  
South America ✔ 
Trans-Atlantic ✔ 
Trans-Pacific ✔ 

So, to answer the question, “Can I bring a carry on with united basic economy?”, yes, passengers with Basic Economy fare can take a carry-on baggage with them onboard. But, only on select routes, in other cases, they must pay a carry-on baggage fee. 

And in case, you purchase the carry-on allowance on the airport, you’ll have to pay $25 extra along with the charges. 

Personal Items Onboard Your Flight 

Unlike carry-on, United allows passengers of Basic Economy to have one personal item onboard their flights, regardless of the route. These items can be anything, from Laptop, Tablets, to Breast Pumps.

However, there is a size limit for personal items onboard. 

Dimension Measurement 
Length 17 inches 
Breadth 10 inches 
Height 9 inches 

And, there are no weight limits on carry-on or personal items. 

Checked Baggage 

Unfortunately, Basic Economy fares does not include complimentary checked baggage allowance on the itinerary. However, passengers are allowed to purchase baggage allowance at the airport or through the website. Although, we recommend you purchase your additional baggage allowance through the website, as it will cost less. 

Also, charges like those for additional, oversized & overweight baggage differs based on the type of travel – Domestic or International. So, let’s discuss these guidelines. 

Baggage Charges 

Type of Travel 1st Bag 2nd Bag 3rd & Consecutive Bags 
Domestic $30 $40 $150 
International $75 $100 $200 
  • Checked Bag must be less than 50 lbs. In weight. 
  • The combined dimensions (length, width & height) should not exceed 62 inches. 

Oversized & Overweight Charges 

Type of Travel Oversize Fee Overweight Fee 
Domestic $200 51 to 70 lbs. – $100 71 to 100 lbs. – $200 
International $200 51 to 70 lbs. – $200 71 to 100 lbs. – $400 
  • Keep in mind that even oversized & overweight bags have limits on them. United will not allow bags weighting more that 100 pounds or with a combined dimensions of more than 115 inches. 
  • Also, if you are carrying a special items like wheelchair, sports equipment, etc. Then, you may check out the specifications for them, here

Complimentary Advanced Seat Selection 

Unfortunately, passengers with Basic Economy fare, free seat selection services. That is not to say that they can’t select seats, but they will have to pay a charge for it. Also, Basic Economy passengers, do not get a lot of seating options to select from. In addition to that, they are not eligible for upgradation. 

The seat selection charge depends on the flight route & distance. Passengers can select seats after booking, using the United Airlines Manage Booking section.

MileagePlus & Premium membership Services 

Members of the MileagePlus & Premium group with Basic Economy fare, will still get to enjoy some of the privileges and services of the clubs. So, let’s check them out. 

  • Available Services 
    • Award Miles 
    • Earn Premier Qualifying Points 
    • Lifetime Miles 
  • Unavailable Services 
    • Premier Qualifying Flights 
    • Complimentary Economy Plus Seating 
    • Paid Upgrades 
    • Mileage Upgrades 
    • Complimentary Premier Upgrades 
    • PlusPoints Upgrades 

Upgrade to United Economy Benefits 

In case you find yourself in need of some of the benefits of United Economy, you can get them for a fee, depending on your route/fare amount. With these benefits you may get to enjoy a more comfortable experience than Basic Economy. Some of the benefits of this service are- 

  • Free Flight Change & Cancellation 
  • 1 X Carry-On Baggage Allowed for free 
  • Complimentary Advanced Seat Selection Service 
  • Option to upgrade further to Economy Plus/Premium Cabin. 

A Comparative Analysis of Fares – United Economy VS Basic Economy 

As the name suggests, both Basic Economy & United Economy are closely related fare classes. That is to say, the United Economy fare class is just above Basic, and therefore, offers many of the same services. 

However, you will find the difference and the value of both fares depending on the type of your travel. However, before we discuss that, let’s check the availability of some basic services on both these fares. 

Services/Amenities Basic Economy United Economy 
Free Cancellation ✓ 
Flight Change ✓ 
Claim Refund Charged 
Inflight Entertainment ✓ ✓ 
Onboard Wi-Fi ✓ ✓ 
Food & Beverage Services Limited ✓ 
Economy Plus Seating ✓ 
Seat/Fare Upgrade ✓ 
Complimentary Checked Baggage Only on International Routes 
Carry-On Baggage For a Fee Free (x1) 
Seat Selection Charged Complimentary 

So, now that you know about the difference in available services amongst the two fare classes, let’s see which one is better. 

Conclusion – Basic Economy VS Economy United 

In terms of services & amenities available, it’s clear that United Economy is the clear winner. However, it’s not just about the services, price is also a big issue when it comes to choosing your preferable fare. 

The price difference between the two classes can be from as little as $40 – $50, to as much as a couple of hundreds of bucks. Also, many of the essential services for a comfortable travel is present on Basic Economy too. 

So, the real deciding factor comes down to affordability & flight time. In short, for short-haul flights, Basic Economy is the best choice for passengers. You might even get to take a short nap to recharge without all the distractions. 

But, for medium-haul flights (ranging from 3 to 6 hours), Basic Economy will become quite boring & uncomfortable. So, for these flights, it’s best to chip in a couple of extra bucks & go for the United Economy. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What does Basic Economy mean on United? 

This is the latest fare introduced by United Airlines to make their flights even more affordable. The United Basic Economy fare, is the cheapest fare available on the airline, but still provides many of the features of the United Economy fare. 

To learn more about United Airlines Basic Economy fare, read the blog above. 

Q2. Do you get a free checked bag with United Basic Economy? 

Unfortunately, no, United Basic Economy fare does not have complimentary checked baggage allowance on the itinerary. So, if passengers want to bring along checked baggage, they’ll have to purchase the allowance at the airport, or through the website, using manage booking. 

Keep in mind, that the cost of checked baggage differs based on the number of bags and the type of route. 

Q3. How strict is United with Basic Economy? 

To be honest, the restrictions on United basic Economy fares are not that much different than on United Economy fares. There are some services & amenities that has been removed from the United Airlines Basic Economy fares, like- 

  • Free Flight Change 
  • Cancellation & Refund 
  • Carry-on Allowance 
  • Economy Plus Seating 
  • Upgrades, etc. 

However, the necessary services & the experience remains more the same. 

Q4. How much does it cost to check a bag on United with Basic Economy? 

The price of Checked Baggage for United Basic Economy fares, depends on two things – Type of Route & Number of Bags. To make it easier for you to understand and find the answer, here is a table depicting the charges. 

Type of Travel 1st Bag 2nd Bag 3rd & Consecutive Bags 
Domestic Airport – $35 Online – $30 Airport – $45 Online – $40 $150 
International $75 $100 $200 

Q5. What does Basic Economy include? 

United Basic Economy fare include much of the same services & amenities as the United Economy, like- 

  • Personal Item 
  • Somme MileagePlus & Premium Membership Perks 
  • Inflight Entertainment 
  • United Wi-Fi 
  • Food & beverage Services, etc.