First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

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student
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by student » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:52 pm

cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:25 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:02 pm
I definitely would not be offended if someone in this situation offered me $50 to switch seats (like it seems everybody else would be), but this is a perfect example of why it would have to be something extremely important for me to fly with my family. Flying is such a PITA doing alone, have no interest in dealing with it with kids. My kids have seen most of this country already at the ages of 7 and 4, from the back seat.
I will only negotiate for a seat exchange if I'm giving the other person a "better" seat.
+1. https://thepointsguy.com/guide/ask-to-s ... on-planes/ "Well, the unspoken rule when it comes to seat swaps is that only better or equivalent exchanges should be offered."

MotoTrojan
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:52 pm

PhilosophyAndrew wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:04 pm
MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:08 pm
I would go for a hybrid approach and get all basic economy and then only pre-pay for enough seats to keep those that need to be together, together. Could also do a hybrid of basic economy and regular economy if that works.

Don't be that person who saves the $400 and then bothers the flight/gate attendants to get your family together... beyond obnoxious. It is cheaper for a reason.
If you need to inconvenience yourself and others to save $400, perhaps your trip is unaffordable for your family. Is taking a less expensive trip possible for you?

Andy.
I think you are agreeing with me :confused :sharebeer .

stan1
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by stan1 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:03 pm

How about this: pay for two aisle seats so you can swap with other people in aisle or window seats next to the middle seats you will invariably get. Cheaper than paying to get everyone together and not as disruptive or disrespectful as it would be paying for none.

Also: how does spouse feel about value of assigned seating even if OP sees no value in it? Perhaps spouse will be mortified when OP runs up and down the aisle waving $50 bills or spouse will be upset if 6 year old is seated 10 rows back between two strangers. There's a difference between being frugal and cheap. One is viewed with respect, the other is viewed with disdain.

gnujoe2001
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by gnujoe2001 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:06 pm

Don't cheap out here. From experience (carrier changed our itinerary..and seats late) on airline carriers where passengers choose seats before hand, they are most reluctant to trade. Fellow passengers on open seating carriers (e.g. Southwest) might be more understanding and accommodating because there's less feel of ownership, and generally less stressed because there isn't as much competition for overhead storage bin space.

Even in the best planned circumstances, air travel for family with young kids is already a dicey proposition.

Frankly: the more people continue to buy sub-standard service tiers, the more the companies see what the market can bear. Don't continue encouraging them by paying for less than what should come standard, or don't support a company that is dead set on making the most bottom tier unbearable and then letting them make you feel better by offering "extras" based on phony status.

cdu7
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by cdu7 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:09 pm

stan1 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:03 pm
How about this: pay for two aisle seats so you can swap with other people in aisle or window seats next to the middle seats you will invariably get. Cheaper than paying to get everyone together and not as disruptive or disrespectful as it would be paying for none.

Also: how does spouse feel about value of assigned seating even if OP sees no value in it? Perhaps spouse will be mortified when OP runs up and down the aisle waving $50 bills or spouse will be upset if 6 year old is seated 10 rows back between two strangers. There's a difference between being frugal and cheap. One is viewed with respect, the other is viewed with disdain.
I fly quite often so I've been on both sides of pretty much every variation of these situations. I've never once had someone offer me cash to move seats. While it does seem very strange, I don't believe I would be offended or upset if someone did so. If he/she was offering me a better seat than my own plus throwing in $50 I'd be really excited about the whole thing. If they were offering me a crap seat, I'd have to seriously think about whether it was worth it. Either way I find it better not to let others social oddities cause me consternation. Just say no, and if they argue, tell them that you are now certainly not going to do a thing for them since they are being rude.

colonialrampage
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by colonialrampage » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:13 pm

As a parent of a 3 and a 6 year-old I can't imagine not making sure they weren't sitting next to a parent on a flight. I think it's irresponsible to impose on other passengers, but I also think it's irresponsible to potentially put my young kids in a situation where they're alone with strangers for several hours. You never know who they'll end up next to. Should an in-flight emergency occur, I'm not going to rely on others to help my kids.

I also think that the save $400 or spend $400 dichotomy is false. Could you spent $200 and fly on a different airline that would allow you to book seats together? Could you travel to a less convenient airport and get seats together? Could you travel at a less convenient time to accomplish either of those things? Could you purchase 4 seats (aisle, window and aisle, window in the same row) toward the front of the plane in order to make sure that you're offering a better seat to the one person you'd need to switch with (or else at least have one parent in the aisle with your kids)?

For what it's worth, my wife and I flew cross-country last month on Alaska basic enconomy and we were able to pick our seats before we checked out. There were very few options together and what there was wasn't great (we sat in the very back of the plane next to the bathroom), but it did meet your desire (and mine) to pay the lowest price but still make sure that we got to sit together. When we travel with kids if we can't get seats together it doesn't count as the lowest price because it doesn't meet our basic requirements.

cdu7
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by cdu7 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:13 pm

gnujoe2001 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:06 pm
Don't cheap out here. From experience (carrier changed our itinerary..and seats late) on airline carriers where passengers choose seats before hand, they are most reluctant to trade. Fellow passengers on open seating carriers (e.g. Southwest) might be more understanding and accommodating because there's less feel of ownership, and generally less stressed because there isn't as much competition for overhead storage bin space.

Even in the best planned circumstances, air travel for family with young kids is already a dicey proposition.

Frankly: the more people continue to buy sub-standard service tiers, the more the companies see what the market can bear. Don't continue encouraging them by paying for less than what should come standard, or don't support a company that is dead set on making the most bottom tier unbearable and then letting them make you feel better by offering "extras" based on phony status.
The problem is that the "sub-standard" service tier is actually an upgrade if you have the "perks" with the airline. You get all the "frequent traveler" perks like priority boarding and free checked bags, plus typically you get a seat closer to the front of the plane(often an economy plus seat). In short flying economy basic is often an amazing ticket choice since you are paying very little for better everything. If you have the preferred credit card and/or miles you should try it out.

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TexasPE
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by TexasPE » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:19 pm

cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:09 pm
stan1 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:03 pm
There's a difference between being frugal and cheap. One is viewed with respect, the other is viewed with disdain.
THIS!
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill (?)

cdu7
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by cdu7 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:28 pm

TexasPE wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:19 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:09 pm
stan1 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:03 pm
There's a difference between being frugal and cheap. One is viewed with respect, the other is viewed with disdain.
THIS!
To go by the quote you seem to live by:

At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill

Airline "hacking" is a huge thing these days, people do whatever they can to game the system. I view being "cheap" as those people on those "extreme" TV shows like this one woman who would only have 1 light-bulb in her house or another who peeled off the banana peels on her grocery bananas since it reduced the weight at the register. It's taking extreme and insane actions that radically reduce the quality of your life in order to save a few cents. Buying cheap products offered by an airline and then using accumulated perks to turn those tickets into "higher value" items seems to be orders of magnitude different.

That said, as I've mentioned before being rude to other people on the plane by trying to force them into worse seats and/or planning a trip with the expectation that you are going to demand people move seats is unacceptable. You make the choices you are prepared to live with. To me, paying half the cost for an airline ticket that 7 times out of 10 puts one in seats people pay a premium for is a no-brainer

Horsefly
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by Horsefly » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:31 pm

The OP asked for comments from people with first-hand experiences with United Basic Economy. I didn't read all the comments (stopped part way through the second page), but it seems he's mostly getting beat up for bringing up the subject.

I'm a lifetime million mile flyer on United, and so I have lifetime status. That and living in Denver, and I'm pretty much pregnant with them. Nevertheless, I often really dislike United and the way they do things.

The big three (United, AA, and Delta) came up with this silly concept of "basic economy" for only one reason. They really don't want or maybe even expect anyone to fly basic economy. The purpose is simply to have a really low price when someone is doing a search on any of the tavelocity, expedia, orbits, and other aggregators on the Internet. It baits people to look at those cheap fairs, but the first thing the airlines do is try to talk you out of that fair and into regular economy, or the individual extras to get you up to that point. This thread is a testament to how stupid the idea is, and how it is another opportunity for passengers to be at each others throats and hate the experience of flying.

Bacchus01
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:42 pm

Horsefly wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:31 pm
The OP asked for comments from people with first-hand experiences with United Basic Economy. I didn't read all the comments (stopped part way through the second page), but it seems he's mostly getting beat up for bringing up the subject.

I'm a lifetime million mile flyer on United, and so I have lifetime status. That and living in Denver, and I'm pretty much pregnant with them. Nevertheless, I often really dislike United and the way they do things.

The big three (United, AA, and Delta) came up with this silly concept of "basic economy" for only one reason. They really don't want or maybe even expect anyone to fly basic economy. The purpose is simply to have a really low price when someone is doing a search on any of the tavelocity, expedia, orbits, and other aggregators on the Internet. It baits people to look at those cheap fairs, but the first thing the airlines do is try to talk you out of that fair and into regular economy, or the individual extras to get you up to that point. This thread is a testament to how stupid the idea is, and how it is another opportunity for passengers to be at each others throats and hate the experience of flying.
It true at all. What they are doing is competing with a class of ticket similar to Frontier and the other major discounters.

ddurrett896
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:08 pm

Do you want to 100% sit together? If yes, pay. If not, buy economy.

Traveling with kids is work, add in connections and it’s not very fun. Adding in a seat swap debacle makes it even worse.

Easiest $400 I’d spend.

DosCommas
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by DosCommas » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:38 pm

Done it before. They will allow a backpack per person but no rollerboards unless you pay to check them. They WILL let you pay a small fee to select regular seats which I recommend. When I booked last the seat selection fee was $17/seat to choose for a cross country flight. You can do it while booking or after the fact.

Also note that United has a 24-hour no penalty / full refund cancellation policy for tickets booked through them directly which is also extended to basic economy (at least last time I checked). So if you’re worried you could try the booking and cancel if they won’t let you get seats together. Check the terms before you book though!

mcraepat9
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by mcraepat9 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:22 am

This is how I feel about your plan:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8zpgcjpHIhI
Amateur investors are not cool-headed logicians.

novemberrain
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by novemberrain » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:42 am

tibbitts wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:09 pm
novemberrain wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:59 pm
WHat happens if one of you get bumped off the flight ?

That being said, even if you all get seated in different rows, there is a good chance other people on the flight will be willing to trade seats with you so that you can kind of sit together
No, especially if everyone in your party has a middle seats. You could stand a slightly better chance with a 2 -2 configuration. And a better chance if you brings lots and lots of cash.
People will still trade out of pity when they see your plight. I have done that myself.

But I must say that the OP has stated that he has the means to buy better seats and still chose to buy cheap tickets. That makes me want to re-evaluate my pity the next time.

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TexasPE
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by TexasPE » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:17 am

cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:28 pm
TexasPE wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:19 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:09 pm
stan1 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:03 pm
There's a difference between being frugal and cheap. One is viewed with respect, the other is viewed with disdain.
THIS!
To go by the quote you seem to live by:

At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill


That said, as I've mentioned before being rude to other people on the plane by trying to force them into worse seats and/or planning a trip with the expectation that you are going to demand people move seats is unacceptable. You make the choices you are prepared to live with. To me, paying half the cost for an airline ticket that 7 times out of 10 puts one in seats people pay a premium for is a no-brainer
YES - it's called self-respect.
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill (?)

TN_Boy
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by TN_Boy » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:29 am

novemberrain wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:42 am
tibbitts wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:09 pm
novemberrain wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:59 pm
WHat happens if one of you get bumped off the flight ?

That being said, even if you all get seated in different rows, there is a good chance other people on the flight will be willing to trade seats with you so that you can kind of sit together
No, especially if everyone in your party has a middle seats. You could stand a slightly better chance with a 2 -2 configuration. And a better chance if you brings lots and lots of cash.
People will still trade out of pity when they see your plight. I have done that myself.

But I must say that the OP has stated that he has the means to buy better seats and still chose to buy cheap tickets. That makes me want to re-evaluate my pity the next time.
Same here! I used to figure that families who didn't have tickets together were perhaps dealing with an emergency and had to book at the last minute.

Now I know it might be somebody too cheap to buy tickets together, depending on everybody else to make it work .....

Carson
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by Carson » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:28 am

OP, I would suggest it depends on the age and autonomy of your children as well as the length of your flight.

We flew United basic economy from Toronto to Chicago with our kids age 6 and 9. We were prepared to be seated separately - our kids can handle their basic needs and entertainment. United policy specifically states they don't guarantee families together and in our experience that was the case. In fact, it seems they just assigned completely random seats.

Our flight was completely packed. The gate agent was able to get us 4 seats near-ish to each other, but no one sitting next to each other. A family ahead of us was trying to get all 4 together but ended up with a 3 + 1 configuration.

When we got to our seating area, we did ask if anyone in those general 2 rows would switch one seat to at least keep our younger one closer to one of us. We were not pushy, nor did we depend on being near each other, just threw it out there as a polite request. Someone was content to switch under the reasoning that they were also basic economy and didn't really care as long as they got on the plane. So while a lot of people on this thread are paying to reserve seats, keep in mind you're not the only basic economy person and there is a chance someone is indifferent also. I personally understand if someone reserves a specific seat, they should not be asked or required to change it.

In contrast, we have also flown basic economy on American as well as Air Canada. Those airlines purposely put us together (generally a 2 + 2 configuration) . AA did it automatically, AC we called ahead of time and they were happy to assign seats prior to the flight.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

cdu7
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by cdu7 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:47 am

TexasPE wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:17 am
cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:28 pm
TexasPE wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:19 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:09 pm
stan1 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:03 pm
There's a difference between being frugal and cheap. One is viewed with respect, the other is viewed with disdain.
THIS!
To go by the quote you seem to live by:

At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill


That said, as I've mentioned before being rude to other people on the plane by trying to force them into worse seats and/or planning a trip with the expectation that you are going to demand people move seats is unacceptable. You make the choices you are prepared to live with. To me, paying half the cost for an airline ticket that 7 times out of 10 puts one in seats people pay a premium for is a no-brainer
YES - it's called self-respect.
I’m not sure I understand what you are implying with this reply? Are you suggesting people who purchase economy basic tickets lack self-respect?

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8foot7
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:59 am

scophreak wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:16 pm
MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:08 pm
Don't be that person who saves the $400 and then bothers the flight/gate attendants to get your family together... beyond obnoxious. It is cheaper for a reason.
Like others, I disagree with this sentiment. If the airline allows for these tickets to be booked for passengers that cannot be seated alone, then the onus is on the airline to accommodate. They could easily alter the booking system such that passengers under a certain age (i.e. the age to travel alone) are not permitted to book in Basic Economy. Since they choose not to do so they should deal with the consequences. This is basic customer service and a problem of their own creation. They hold all the power to solve the problem, if they choose to do so.
I can't believe I am actually defending an airline, but you are mistaken here. The onus is not on the airline to accommodate in this scenario because (a) they have clearly laid out the policy of not guaranteeing seats together (b) they have warned in advance that it may not be possible and (c) they have provided two means of alleviating this issue in advance, either by purchasing seat assignments or selecting a different fare. If the OP wants the cheap ticket then it comes with these very fairly disclosed restrictions.

Now if the OP buys seats and then they get changed, or he buys a regular fare with free assignments, and then has problems, I'm with you. But in this case getting the benefit of the cheap seats comes with the risk of not sitting together and the airline has made the terms of that deal very clear--certainly clear enough that there's a thread about it.

Now, on the airplane in coach, I'd generally be happy to switch seats for a like seat (aisle for aisle, window for window) or better seat (center to aisle or window) but I would not switch to a center seat from an aisle or window, to a window from an aisle, from a seat in row 8 to a seat in row 34, or from an extra legroom seat. Moving from 10C to 15C or 32A to 24A ain't no big deal but 8 to 34 can mean a 10-15 minute different in deplaning and could make the difference in making a connection, and also lowers the odds that the buy-on-board food is available. Perhaps that makes me a @#*$(@#$, but I pick seats for a reason and unless you're wanting to hand over some cash, I'm not going to lessen my personal comfort for your convenience.
Last edited by 8foot7 on Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nate79
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by Nate79 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:01 am

You should assume you will not be sitting together if you get these tickets.

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FlyAF
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by FlyAF » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:02 am

cdu7 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:47 am
TexasPE wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:17 am
cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:28 pm
TexasPE wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:19 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:09 pm

THIS!
To go by the quote you seem to live by:

At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill


That said, as I've mentioned before being rude to other people on the plane by trying to force them into worse seats and/or planning a trip with the expectation that you are going to demand people move seats is unacceptable. You make the choices you are prepared to live with. To me, paying half the cost for an airline ticket that 7 times out of 10 puts one in seats people pay a premium for is a no-brainer
YES - it's called self-respect.
I’m not sure I understand what you are implying with this reply? Are you suggesting people who purchase economy basic tickets lack self-respect?
I dunno about self respect, but folks like OP that employ this strategy CERTAINLY lack respect for other people.

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8foot7
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:09 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:42 pm
Horsefly wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:31 pm
The OP asked for comments from people with first-hand experiences with United Basic Economy. I didn't read all the comments (stopped part way through the second page), but it seems he's mostly getting beat up for bringing up the subject.

I'm a lifetime million mile flyer on United, and so I have lifetime status. That and living in Denver, and I'm pretty much pregnant with them. Nevertheless, I often really dislike United and the way they do things.

The big three (United, AA, and Delta) came up with this silly concept of "basic economy" for only one reason. They really don't want or maybe even expect anyone to fly basic economy. The purpose is simply to have a really low price when someone is doing a search on any of the tavelocity, expedia, orbits, and other aggregators on the Internet. It baits people to look at those cheap fairs, but the first thing the airlines do is try to talk you out of that fair and into regular economy, or the individual extras to get you up to that point. This thread is a testament to how stupid the idea is, and how it is another opportunity for passengers to be at each others throats and hate the experience of flying.
It true at all. What they are doing is competing with a class of ticket similar to Frontier and the other major discounters.
It absolutely is true. The basic economy fare is designed to be so unpleasant that it forces you to pay more for what used to be the cheapest economy ticket. It is purposely degrading the product to a point it becomes so unattractive that you pay more. The "competing with LCCs" thing is their excuse, not the real driver of this. This is proven to be true because the BE fares are no cheaper than the economy fares used to be. If they really wanted to compete with the LCCs, the fares would be competitive. The airline would be thrilled if no one purchased the BE fare and everyone purchased the 'regular' fare because the 'regular' fare is now more expensive.

Doug Parker (American Airlines CEO), upon being told by an employee last week that Basic Economy fare passengers are being assigned to extra legroom (Main Cabin Extra) seats: "That sounds horrible."
"To be 100 percent clear, the airlines are not offering lower fares than they were offering before basic economy was introduced," says Gary Leff, who writes the View from the Wing travel blog. He says the airlines may have initially offered basic economy to compete with the growing ultra-low cost carries such as Spirit and Frontier.

"They decided that they wanted to give you less — something approximating what those low-cost carriers were providing at that price point — in hopes that you would pay more to get the kinds of services that you were used to from those airlines," Leff says.

He says the big three airlines are banking on convincing travelers to pay more for services that seem kind of basic: choosing your seat, making sure your family is seated together, and putting a carry-on bag in the overhead bin.

"It's a strategy to raise the revenue that they're earning off of every seat," he says.
https://www.nprillinois.org/post/new-ba ... k#stream/0

fareastwarriors
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by fareastwarriors » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:21 am

Lots of people hate Basic econ but let's be realistic here. Air travel has never been cheaper.

Can you book 2 reservations with one parent taking 2 kids on economy and the other parent does basic? You might not save $400 but maybe can save $50/100?

scophreak
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by scophreak » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:45 am

8foot7 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:59 am
scophreak wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:16 pm
MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:08 pm
Don't be that person who saves the $400 and then bothers the flight/gate attendants to get your family together... beyond obnoxious. It is cheaper for a reason.
Like others, I disagree with this sentiment. If the airline allows for these tickets to be booked for passengers that cannot be seated alone, then the onus is on the airline to accommodate. They could easily alter the booking system such that passengers under a certain age (i.e. the age to travel alone) are not permitted to book in Basic Economy. Since they choose not to do so they should deal with the consequences. This is basic customer service and a problem of their own creation. They hold all the power to solve the problem, if they choose to do so.
I can't believe I am actually defending an airline, but you are mistaken here. The onus is not on the airline to accommodate in this scenario because (a) they have clearly laid out the policy of not guaranteeing seats together (b) they have warned in advance that it may not be possible and (c) they have provided two means of alleviating this issue in advance, either by purchasing seat assignments or selecting a different fare. If the OP wants the cheap ticket then it comes with these very fairly disclosed restrictions.

Now if the OP buys seats and then they get changed, or he buys a regular fare with free assignments, and then has problems, I'm with you. But in this case getting the benefit of the cheap seats comes with the risk of not sitting together and the airline has made the terms of that deal very clear--certainly clear enough that there's a thread about it.

Now, on the airplane in coach, I'd generally be happy to switch seats for a like seat (aisle for aisle, window for window) or better seat (center to aisle or window) but I would not switch to a center seat from an aisle or window, to a window from an aisle, from a seat in row 8 to a seat in row 34, or from an extra legroom seat. Moving from 10C to 15C or 32A to 24A ain't no big deal but 8 to 34 can mean a 10-15 minute different in deplaning and could make the difference in making a connection, and also lowers the odds that the buy-on-board food is available. Perhaps that makes me a @#*$(@#$, but I pick seats for a reason and unless you're wanting to hand over some cash, I'm not going to lessen my personal comfort for your convenience.
Again, I disagree with you. The airline controls the booking process and has created this problem (which they are well aware of) and have simply chosen to ignore it.

Isn't the airline essentially violating their own policies (not to mention the inherent safety of passengers) by explicitly allowing what amounts to unaccompanied minors to be seated alone? What happens in the case of an emergency? Isn't the airline putting other passengers in harm's way by having unaccompanied minors sitting randomly throughout the aircraft? Whether or not they have a stated policy that families may not be seated together (and remember, again, that Congress in 2016 mandated this should be the case FREE OF CHARGE), the airlines' own booking system allows minors to purchase Basic Economy fares. By doing so, airlines are also agreeing that these passengers are fully capable of being seated independently of an adult tasked with their supervision. This is a SIMPLE fix, if the airlines simply chose to do so. THEY could easily control who can and cannot book these fares with literally a couple lines of code. THEY created this scenario in the first place and are simply leaving it up to others to sort out.

For the record, I have traveled extensively with 2 children under 8 and have never purchased a Basic Economy fares for our family. That said, I think it's well within a family's right to do so...and even Congress seems to agree with me.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:45 am

student wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:11 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:07 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:46 pm
I don't understand why it is so hard for some people to say no. I've been asked to give up my seat before, and I simply decline. I'm not talking about elderly, disabled, or special needs passengers, but by regular passengers who didn't get two seats together, preferred the aisle, suffered from claustrophobia and couldn't stand the thought of sitting next to the window, etc. A firm, but polite, "no" is all it takes.
Different seats are sold for different prices. I don't understand why people should be forced to give up their preferred seats.

Twice in the past two years, my aisle seat was occupied by some person and he refused to move when I told the person that was my seats. I had to tell the person several times that I needed the aisle seat. Once there were a couple, the woman took the window seat, the man took my aisle seat and wanted me to take the middle seat. I was so much frustrated.
Were you able to get your seat back?
Yes, I did.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:57 am

scophreak wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:45 am

Whether or not they have a stated policy that families may not be seated together (and remember, again, that Congress in 2016 mandated this should be the case FREE OF CHARGE), the airlines' own booking system allows minors to purchase Basic Economy fares.
You have missed a couple of important details regarding that law.
* the law only requires a 12yo or under to be seated in a seat adjacent to another family member (it does not mean the whole family gets to sit together; mom and daughter can be in 13AB and dad and son can be in 29DE)
* 13-18 year olds are not covered by this policy in any case
* the law only requires providing that adjacent seating free of charge when that adjacent seat would normally be available to the traveler without charge. It does not require the airline to adjust booking or cabin class or offer an upgraded product.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html

Furthermore, while the law exists, it directs the FAA to write the regulation, and they have not done so, so it's a bit of a tree-falling-in-the-woods thing. If a law needs a regulation but the regulation doesn't exist, does the law really have any teeth?

So again I say, the onus is not on the airline to sit a family of basic economy fares together no matter what, and the airline's policies (to do so if seats are available but to not make a guarantee) are consistent with the law.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by oldfatguy » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:18 am

colonialrampage wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:13 pm
As a parent of a 3 and a 6 year-old I can't imagine not making sure they weren't sitting next to a parent on a flight. I think it's irresponsible to impose on other passengers, but I also think it's irresponsible to potentially put my young kids in a situation where they're alone with strangers for several hours. You never know who they'll end up next to. Should an in-flight emergency occur, I'm not going to rely on others to help my kids.
Exactly! Why would anyone want to put their young kids in this situation on an airplane?

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:27 am

I JUST went through this. Bought United Basic Economy. Didn't pay for seats right away during initial purchase. I logged in a few days before the flight and saw that the only cheap seats available were the last 2 rows right by the bathrooms and middle seats closer to the back. Ended up buying 3 seats all together, over the wing, for my family of 4 (we have a one-year old who didn't need a ticket). Spent around $100. We were only flying one leg. I assumed we would not be able to sit together, since they sent a very explicit email stating so. I didn't want my wife to be left alone with our very wiggly one-year old on the entire 3.5 hour flight.

I think it was worth it. If you are okay not all sitting together, I wouldn't bother upgrading from basic economy. If not sitting together is a deal-breaker, do the upgrade.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:39 am

Carson wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:28 am
In contrast, we have also flown basic economy on American as well as Air Canada. Those airlines purposely put us together (generally a 2 + 2 configuration) . AA did it automatically, AC we called ahead of time and they were happy to assign seats prior to the flight.
To add onto this, many foreign airlines are much more sensitive to family seating than American based airlines. I fly quite a bit on Philippine Airlines and not only do they go out of their way moving others around to accommodate families sitting together, they also seat families flying with small children first, even ahead of those with elite status. Another perk is they take our kids meal orders as they board the plane and bring them their food first before serving adults. I've also had good luck with Japan and Korean airlines.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by Freedomconnoisseur » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:45 am

Afty wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:06 pm
I think it's interesting how little blame United is getting in this thread for setting up this situation in the first place. United knows that families are going to be enticed to buy basic economy seats and even set an FAQ entry telling them not to, but they still allow it. They could just as easily not. They are knowingly and intentionally putting their flight attendants and other passengers in this awkward situation of having to negotiate seat trades.
There are any number of 14 year olds or even 10 year olds that are perfectly capable of handling a seating assignment away from their parent. I'd rather the airline offered the option for those families. They make it very clear at the time of purchase what limitations the fare entails. No one is being tricked. The awkward situation, if any, comes from the consumer making an informed decision and then not taking responsibility for their choice. In my mind, there is no blame for United.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by ag1 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:52 am

As a father of 3 kids I am used to booking airline tickets and struggling with basic/nonbasic.

I check what plane is the flight on and the seat configurations. You can check using the airline or seatguru.com If the configuration is a 2-2 or 1-2 then it makes total sense to go for basic economy for all 5 of us. It is a no brainer as there really is no bad seat. And much easier to switch one or two seats if you need to do it. No one minds on those planes.

If it is a 3-3 configuration I have learnt to pay up for seat selection. It is very hard to make sure people will switch. One time a single person refused to exchange his middle seat for an aisle seat in next row. That was my last time.

You still don't have to buy "full" economy. You can buy basic and pay for seats. It is still cheaper.

Also if you travel at least once a year with family it is worth while to get the airline credit card. One trip easily covers 2-5 x of the annual fee


AG

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by FrugalConservative » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:55 am

Willing to roll the dice on having your two young children sit next to complete strangers instead of paying a few hundred dollars, sound logical and acceptable to me. :oops:

Dont count on them sitting your with your kids.

At the end of the day you are being cheap and its pretty sad when kids are involved.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:59 am

If you are okay with each member of your party - each adult and each child - occupying a middle seat sitting between strangers in each different row save the money.
For family travel - I ALWAYS reserve seats. Planes all run pretty full these days - all the window and aisle seats will be booked - you and your kids will likely be sitting in middle seats all separately if you leave seating to chance.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by greg24 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:04 pm

We've done this with 2 parent and 2 kids and have had zero problems.

But I haven't flown with some of the people in this thread.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:09 pm

I don't know why people are expecting others to switch seats with you when they paid more for their seats.
Is this unethical? (Buying cheaper seats and expecting to switch to more expensive ones).

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by dbr » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:13 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:09 pm
I don't know why people are expecting others to switch seats with you when they paid more for their seats.
Is this unethical? (Buying cheaper seats and expecting to switch to more expensive ones).
Of course it's unethical. But I think most people caught in such cases were naive or ignorant rather than scheming. Sometimes airline policies are just pigheaded and hard to navigate, especially regarding such things as figuring out now to reserve seats and check-in in advance. The position of the airlines, of course, is that no seat assignment is guaranteed, paid for or not. The OP is to be congratulated for asking.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by GmanJeff » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:21 pm

oldfatguy wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:18 am
colonialrampage wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:13 pm
As a parent of a 3 and a 6 year-old I can't imagine not making sure they weren't sitting next to a parent on a flight. I think it's irresponsible to impose on other passengers, but I also think it's irresponsible to potentially put my young kids in a situation where they're alone with strangers for several hours. You never know who they'll end up next to. Should an in-flight emergency occur, I'm not going to rely on others to help my kids.
Exactly! Why would anyone want to put their young kids in this situation on an airplane?
I'd argue that the most salient point made thus far is this one: "Should an in-flight emergency occur, I'm not going to rely on others to help my kids". A willingness to leave young children to fend for themselves in the event of an emergency, however unlikely that scenario is, represents a profoundly misplaced priority of saving money by elevating risk to the children, who at 6 years old or younger in this case cannot by any stretch of the imagination be expected to deal with an emergency alone. While adjacent passengers may, or may not, assist them if they need help, relinquishing that responsibility to strangers of unknown competence, intelligence, and willingness is arguably unconscionable.
Last edited by GmanJeff on Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:57 pm

MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:52 pm
PhilosophyAndrew wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:04 pm
MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:08 pm
I would go for a hybrid approach and get all basic economy and then only pre-pay for enough seats to keep those that need to be together, together. Could also do a hybrid of basic economy and regular economy if that works.

Don't be that person who saves the $400 and then bothers the flight/gate attendants to get your family together... beyond obnoxious. It is cheaper for a reason.
If you need to inconvenience yourself and others to save $400, perhaps your trip is unaffordable for your family. Is taking a less expensive trip possible for you?

Andy.
I think you are agreeing with me :confused :sharebeer .

Yes, I agree with you: My comments were addressed to the OP, who is the one contemplating taking the trip. I’m sorry that I forgot to address them to OP; I quoted you precisely because I agreed with you!

Andy.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by FreemanB » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:17 pm

I have a United Basic Economy ticket booked for next week. I'm traveling alone, and I don't care where I sit on the plane. I don't plan on having a carry-on bag either. For me, it was the best price for a ticket that met my needs. However, when I'm traveling with my 6-year old daughter, Basic Economy is completely off the table. It would never have even occurred to me to hope that someone would switch seats to keep us together. If you care about where you sit, then pay for assigned seating. Otherwise, hope others are feeling charitable. With that many family members, I suspect you will be out of luck unless your flight is fairly empty.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by chestnut » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:57 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:53 am
I'm traveling with 2 adults and 3 small children (ages 4 through 6) soon. I can save $400 or more by choosing Basic Economy instead of Regular Economy. These are the downsides of Basic Economy:

--No carry-on bags: no problem. I hate bags anyway.
--No re-schedule or refunds: I'm willing to take the risk. I have some trip insurance via my credit card, maybe.
--No seating choice: This is the biggest issue when traveling with a family. I can pay to choose seats, but if I pay for seating for everyone for every segment, there is very little price difference compared to Regular Economy.

United says that seats will be chosen after check-in time, and they do not guarantee that families will be able to sit together. I'm willing to split my party into two on the plane (1 parent with 2 kids, and 1 parent with 1 kid). But I don't want any of my kids to be seated in a totally different part of the plane away from any parents.

I know i can pay for proper Economy and choose my seats, but I want to try Basic and see how it works out. Does anyone have experiences flying under Basic economy with smaller children? What is the risk that the airlines really seat your children in a totally different part of the plane?
I understand the cost of travel adds up when travelling with the whole family. But from the OPs post it appears the children are 4, 5 & 6 and OP explicitly states "But I don't want any of my kids to be seated in a totally different part of the plane away from any parents." The only way that is guaranteed is by paying for the seat selection.

I am not sure how long the flight duration is -- but I have practical questions in addition to the issues others have mentioned -- What if one of the kids sitting alone next to a stranger had to use the bathroom when parents are somewhere else on the plane? Or they feel airsick or have ear pain during take off or landing? or help with eating (snack/meal).

4, 5, and 6 year olds need to be next to the parents. OP, no judgement here --- but I hope you have considered these practical issues for your children.

Kindness of fellow passengers should not be misused.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by JediMisty » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:07 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:09 pm
I don't know why people are expecting others to switch seats with you when they paid more for their seats.
Is this unethical? (Buying cheaper seats and expecting to switch to more expensive ones).
+1. I paid for the right to choose my seat on "regular" Economy United. If I'm asked to switch with someone who chose Basic Economy isn't that they are saving money at my expense???

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by goblue100 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:20 pm

I'm surprised so many people here are blaming the consumers for an issue that is due to the airlines greed in charging for something that used to be free, and should be free. When they sell seats, they should be required to assign you a seat. Problem solved. If you don't like the seat assignment, you don't buy the ticket. Instead they are trying to create multiple classes of seats in the economy section and leave it to the passengers to sort it out. Stupid.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by TN_Boy » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:34 pm

goblue100 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:20 pm
I'm surprised so many people here are blaming the consumers for an issue that is due to the airlines greed in charging for something that used to be free, and should be free. When they sell seats, they should be required to assign you a seat. Problem solved. If you don't like the seat assignment, you don't buy the ticket. Instead they are trying to create multiple classes of seats in the economy section and leave it to the passengers to sort it out. Stupid.
This is free enterprise.

There are people perfectly happy to buy the cheapest possible ticket (here basic economy) and take whatever seat they wind up with.

That might not be the right choice for a family wanting to keep younger children with a parent. In which case, buy a ticket where you can get a seat assignment.

I do not understand, at all, the argument some have made that this is the airlines fault. United has outlined the choices. If you don't like them, try another airline, or mode of transportation, or ......

I find the current seating on most airlines so uncomfortable that I now pay up one ticket class on longer flights. I don't like doing this. But well, I have to decide what I want. (Note that I personally could rant for a while on many things airlines do that *I* don't like. But when I buy the ticket, I know what my choices are).

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by rkhusky » Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:36 pm

goblue100 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:20 pm
I'm surprised so many people here are blaming the consumers for an issue that is due to the airlines greed in charging for something that used to be free, and should be free. When they sell seats, they should be required to assign you a seat. Problem solved. If you don't like the seat assignment, you don't buy the ticket. Instead they are trying to create multiple classes of seats in the economy section and leave it to the passengers to sort it out. Stupid.
There goes Southwest Airlines business model.

Perhaps the airlines look at it as giving the consumer a discount for providing them flexibility on seating. If a significant portion of the passengers choose unreserved seating, then the airline can much more easily seat passengers together that wish to do so, even those who book their tickets at the last minute.

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28fe6
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by 28fe6 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:14 pm

What if one of the kids sitting alone next to a stranger had to use the bathroom when parents are somewhere else on the plane? Or they feel airsick or have ear pain during take off or landing? or help with eating (snack/meal).
Many of these issues are common to minors traveling alone, except better because at least there is a parent on the plane.

When traveling alone kids will need to fend for themselves or rely on the flight attendants. None of my kids need help using the bathroom or eating a snack. If they need help with something else they can call a flight attendant who can also summon me if needed. Presence of parents on the plane probably accounts for why airlines are willing to let younger children fly separate from parents than they will let fly as unaccompanied minors. I still think, however, that there is a gap where the airlines really don't want a 25-month-old to fly separate from its parents, but they are still offering to sell tickets that way and daring people to try it.

Most airlines let children as young as 5 fly as unaccompanied minors, but most of them charge a fee for it. Many of them stop providing any special services to unaccompanied minors after age 12. Apparently, airlines are willing to let children as young as 4 fly separately from parents on the same flight. At least United just sold me a ticket for one...


Incidentally, when flying on ANA from Japan I once watched a flight attendant take a kid of maybe 4 or 5 to the bathroom...carried the kid and everything. I could see the parents, who apparently could have taken the kid to the bathroom themselves, but thought they would let the flight attendant do it so they didn't have to. They just sat there drinking wine until the flight attendant brought the kid back. They probably thought it was very reasonably within the job description of the flight attendant, and figured they paid for the service with their ticket. It was one of those culture shock moments for me, because on US airlines, I would not have an expectation of the flight attendant helping me deal with my kids.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by nexesn » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:33 pm

Kenkat wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:55 pm
Also, when you rent a car, reserve a sub-compact and hope you can get a free upgrade when you arrive. If not, then negotiate with other customers to switch their larger cars for yours. Maybe offer a few bucks or see if you can get the customer service rep to make others give up their larger cars for yours but at the same price.

Now, how is this different than the airfare strategy?
28fe6 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:17 pm
in what world is that remotely fair? You are saving to the tune of $80/ticket, yet you offer $50/seat to someone who has presumably also had to pay $80 extra to get that specific seat (if the other person was also in basic economy, no big deal, as s/he just pocketed $50, but if s/he had to pay for the privilege)? Should this hypothetical other person magnanimously eat the $30/seat cost to further your desire to save money?

Shouldn't you be offering at least something like $120/seat to entice others?
The most expensive seat option in economy cabin for the flights I booked is $45. No, it wouldn't be competitive to offer a business class passenger $50, but $50 seems to be equal to or higher than the premiums charged by United for seat choice on these flights.

And I never said anything about "fair". $50 is 50; if nobody accepts $50 for their seat, then that's fine and fair enough. This is the problem with people nowadays; offer to change seats with them for $50, and instead of politely declining or accepting, or even bargaining, it becomes a conversation about fairness. What ever happened to capitalism? It's amazing our economy still functions.


Haha. Pretty funny.

To the OP: Personally, I think you need to swallow the cost. You are already discussing the fact of "if's". And, you are hoping -for lack of a better term- to "game the system" by skimping on $400 and expecting to make others figure out the situation when you arrive. You don't sound like that type of person, but ultimately, what you're talking about is "I'm going to save a few $100 bucks now, and let others deal with the problem later". If you weren't aware of the rules, I'd have some sympathy if you arrived and couldn't sit together. But, since you already know the rules, I really think you should just pay the additional price (This is coming from someone who has a kid and I also don't like spending money if I don't have to).


Edited to also add quote from OP

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by TN_Boy » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:47 pm

rkhusky wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:36 pm
goblue100 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:20 pm
I'm surprised so many people here are blaming the consumers for an issue that is due to the airlines greed in charging for something that used to be free, and should be free. When they sell seats, they should be required to assign you a seat. Problem solved. If you don't like the seat assignment, you don't buy the ticket. Instead they are trying to create multiple classes of seats in the economy section and leave it to the passengers to sort it out. Stupid.
There goes Southwest Airlines business model.

Perhaps the airlines look at it as giving the consumer a discount for providing them flexibility on seating. If a significant portion of the passengers choose unreserved seating, then the airline can much more easily seat passengers together that wish to do so, even those who book their tickets at the last minute.
Well, Southwest does have a policy to try and keep families together (I had to look this up). They will let families traveling with small children board between groups A and B, regardless of what group they are actually in.

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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by JediMisty » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:49 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:14 pm
What if one of the kids sitting alone next to a stranger had to use the bathroom when parents are somewhere else on the plane? Or they feel airsick or have ear pain during take off or landing? or help with eating (snack/meal).
Many of these issues are common to minors traveling alone, except better because at least there is a parent on the plane.

When traveling alone kids will need to fend for themselves or rely on the flight attendants. None of my kids need help using the bathroom or eating a snack. If they need help with something else they can call a flight attendant who can also summon me if needed. Presence of parents on the plane probably accounts for why airlines are willing to let younger children fly separate from parents than they will let fly as unaccompanied minors. I still think, however, that there is a gap where the airlines really don't want a 25-month-old to fly separate from its parents, but they are still offering to sell tickets that way and daring people to try it.

Most airlines let children as young as 5 fly as unaccompanied minors, but most of them charge a fee for it. Many of them stop providing any special services to unaccompanied minors after age 12. Apparently, airlines are willing to let children as young as 4 fly separately from parents on the same flight. At least United just sold me a ticket for one...


Incidentally, when flying on ANA from Japan I once watched a flight attendant take a kid of maybe 4 or 5 to the bathroom...carried the kid and everything. I could see the parents, who apparently could have taken the kid to the bathroom themselves, but thought they would let the flight attendant do it so they didn't have to. They just sat there drinking wine until the flight attendant brought the kid back. They probably thought it was very reasonably within the job description of the flight attendant, and figured they paid for the service with their ticket. It was one of those culture shock moments for me, because on US airlines, I would not have an expectation of the flight attendant helping me deal with my kids.
Wait, so you're saying your four year old would know when it's acceptable to go to the restroom and go by his or herself? Unbuckle their seat belt, walk alone down the aisle, stand patiently in line, lock the door behind his or her self (how would they reach the lock?). It sounds like a very advanced child. Congratulations. At four, my son's behaviour was quite good, but I believe he would have been anxious to sit alone.When an unaccompanied minor travels alone, the airline charges a fee to have the child looked after. If I have paid for full economy so I may choose my seat, by asking me (or others) to switch, aren't you downgrading them to the seat you were assigned? Isn't that asking a stranger to essentially give you something you were not willing to pay for yourself but they DID pay for?

blastoff
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Re: First-hand experiences with United Basic Economy for families?

Post by blastoff » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:52 pm

Not united, but topical.

Wanted to chime in and say two things:
1) I have flown delta in their basic economy as a solo traveler 5-10 legs. Without fail, always back of the plane in obviously the least desirable seats.
2) I have flown american for a couple legs with another person in basic economy. Each time, fairly good seats (on small, but full planes) and sitting next to other person. No idea how common this is, but it has been my experience.

These were all 1-3hr domestic flights.
Last edited by blastoff on Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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