NY senator urges United to stop ‘Basic Economy’ overhead bin ban

(AP file photo)

Would you fly on an airline that charges for using overhead bins in exchange for lower fares?

That’s what United Airlines has planned for 2017 with their new ‘Basic Economy’ fares.

Basic Economy fliers will be assigned seats on the day of departure, be assigned to the last boarding group, and allowed only one personal carry-on item that must fit under the seat.

Passengers that choose a Basic Economy ticket will not be able to change their seat assignments and travelers on the same reservation may not be seated together.

These low fare passengers will still earn award miles. However, they will not earn other perks.

Other airlines have similar plans, however United’s announcement has drawn the ire of New York Senator Charles Schumer.

Schumer said in a press release that United Airlines’ proposed fare structure poses one of the most restrictive policies on airline passengers and says the airline should scrap its plan to charge Basic Economy fliers to utilize overhead bins. The New York senator says this fee structure “represents a slippery slope that could negatively alter the policy on free use of the overhead bins for all fliers.”

Basic Economy differences according to United Airlines’ website:

  • Automated seat assignments will be given at check-in, and passengers acknowledge at the point of a multi-seat purchase that seating together is not guaranteed.
  • Carry-on bags are limited to one personal item, unless the customer is a MileagePlus® Premier® member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star AllianceTM Gold member.
  • There will be no voluntary ticket changes except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy.
  • MileagePlus program members will earn redeemable award miles; however they will not earn Premier qualifying credit (miles, segments, or dollars), no lifetime miles, and no contribution to four segment minimum.
  • Customers will not be eligible for Economy Plus® or premium cabin upgrades.
  • Customers will board in the last boarding group (currently Group 5) unless a MileagePlus Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance Gold member.
  • No combinability with regular Economy fares or partner carriers. Interline travel is not permitted.

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