United Airlines Just Changed the Most Annoying Thing About Basic Economy Fares

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 with registration N13013 approaches LAX for landing.
Angel Di Bilio / Getty Images
United Airlines improves the basic economy.
The airline's Basic Economy fares can now be upgraded after purchase so passengers can cancel or change their flights and use credits for future trips. Previously, these cheap airfares were non-refundable and non-exchangeable, so passengers had to forfeit the value of unused tickets.
Travelers can now pay a non-refundable upgrade fee to make changes to their itineraries. Passengers do not have to pay additional rebooking fees, but they do have to pay fare differences for more expensive flights.
Passengers who switch to cheaper flights will receive the difference back as credit for future travel on United. And when the time comes to fly, enjoy the other benefits of a full economy fare, including free full-size carry-on baggage, pre-check-in seat assignments, and the ability to take advantage of frequent flyer upgrades.
Also, upgrading after a purchase might not cost as much as you might expect. The Points Guy was upgraded to a $ 45 ticket, just $ 5 more than it would have cost to buy a standard economy fare.
A United spokesperson confirmed that the current rate for upgrading from a Basic Economy rate to a regular Economy rate is $ 45.
While the basic economic restraints may have been less of a concern last year when the currency exchange fees were waived, things have changed as coronavirus numbers slide down and more travelers take off.
Airlines have already started enforcing fare restrictions before the pandemic, and basic economy fares remain non-refundable and immutable with American Airlines and Delta Airlines.
United's new policy is also limited. Upgrades to United's Basic Economy fares are only available on US domestic routes and short-haul international flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.
Basic economy fares remain non-refundable despite being covered by the airline's 24 hour cancellation policy with no penalties.
Meena Thiruvengadam is a travel and leisure worker who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 US states. She loves historical memorial plaques, strolls through new streets and walks on beaches. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

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