Lonely Planet Writer

DO NOT put bags in overhead bins - United Airlines' new basic economy fare bans use of overhead space

United Airlines had added new basic economy fares for travellers looking for a cheap ticket, but it will come at the price of a spot in the overhead bin.

Empty airplane interior, bag left in overhead bin, side view.
Empty airplane interior, bag left in overhead bin, side view. Image by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

The airline announced this week that it has added “more choice” for “price-sensitive travellers” by introducing the new option for the lowest fares. Passengers will still receive standard economy basics like food, beverages and Wi-Fi, but will not be assigned a seat until the day of departure and will only be allow one carry-on item that has to fit underneath a seat. The company says the option, which will be on sale in 2017, will be beneficial to both customers and employees, as less passengers bringing overhead luggage will simplify the boarding process. However, Reuters reports that the new prices will be comparable to the company’s current fares for the economy cabin, but will only come with more restrictions.

Ronald Reagan Washington Airport_travel_luggage_flight_airline_paggenger_baggage_4
Passengers walk through the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In order to get the cheapest fare on the airline, passengers must know that groups may not be seated together, they are not eligible for seat upgrades, and will be in the last boarding group. The small personal item allowed will be a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or item that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) or less. And while many travellers will grumble about the trend towards no-frills flying in the US, United is not the only airline in America to introduce a “last-class” offering. Delta has already launched a basic economy option in order to compete with ultra-low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier. However, the new option will be a benefit to travellers who care more about taking a trip than what they can bring on it.