Tag Archives: united

About those “basic economy” Plane fares….buyer beware!

Yet another way for airlines to nickle and dime us: the “Basic Economy” fare. It means different things depending upon the airline. United’s basic economy does not allow you to stow a bag in overhead (let alone check a bag) so you’ve got to pack very lightly.  Dirck tried this out during a recent trip to Albuquerque (where he was staying with relatives so he could borrow clothes, if need be. Plus   it was only a long weekend trip.) He did have to check in at the counter — he couldn’t get his seat assignments or boarding passes in advance online. And he got closely scrutinized by the counter person who seemed to think he was going to try to smuggle on a bag to go in the overhead. Meanwhile the ticket fare was by no means cheap (about $340) and both of his planes traveling to ABQ were delayed due to mechanical problems so he lost half a day of his trip. Thanks United.

I opted for American’s Basic Economy fare during a recent trip to New Orleans after I read the fine print and found out that I could bring a bag to stash overhead. The fare (a reasonable $240) was about $70 cheaper than the Economy fare, I think. I ended up buying advance seat assignments on both flights for about $9 per flight (two flights each way).  I was in the last group to board, regardless — in the ominous-sounding “Group 9,” which wasn’t that big an issue except when it comes to finding overhead space to put a bag. I didn’t have this issue because Dirck had an Economy ticket (that his employer paid for) and had checked his bag  so he took mine when he boarded with Group 6.

One irritating thing did happen when I tried to buy seat assignments on the way home.  I went online, picked out a specific seat for each of my two flights at a specific price. But instead of giving me the seat I chose for the first flight (an aisle seat toward the front of the plane, so I could get out faster and make my connection) the automated system gave me a seat I never would have purchased (a middle seat way in the back).  I was charged $16, rather than $18 for the two seat assignments. And there was no recourse. I tried calling the airline but they said I’d have to wait until I got to the airport and switch — which I did but the seat I originally selected was no longer available. I did switch to an aisle seat but way back in the plane. It’s a cockamamie system — as I complained to the American ticket agent, it would be like buying a specific book from Amazon and Amazon ending me a different book, at a different price, with no option to correct my order. Consumer be damned….

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Filed under airfare, Airlines, flying

Bad deal on United Airlines – avoid flying the airline from DSM to ABQ

It was bad enough that my husband had to pay $350 for a flight from Des Moines to Albuquerque on United — this is the bare bones fare, non-holiday, no pre-assigned seat, no overhead luggage storage.

To add insult to injury, it took 12 hours for him to get to his destination — way more than planned – because both of his flights were delayed by mechanical problems.  He arrived in Denver two minutes before his connecting flight was due to take off and ran to the gate, just as the door closed. He got to know the Denver airport far more than he wanted.

The weather, of course, was perfect for flying. He’s had trouble before with United. Let this be a reminder to us – – and a warning to you, dear reader – -not to fly this route with United again.

I should add that my husband’s return trip went without a hitch. But it seems like he has trouble with the departure or return every time he flies this route with United.

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Filed under Airlines, Albuquerque, flying, New Mexico, Uncategorized

United gets us to LAX via competitor!

we didn’t realize United had fixed us up with an alternative flight to LA on a competing airline until we got to the airport in Des Moines. These airline mergers are hard to keep straight. But United merged with Continental and American with USAIR. We were supposed to fly United to Denver to LA but our flight was two hours late so we would miss our connection. I stayed calm and called United and soon we were flying us air to LA via Phoenix, out of frigid subzero Iowa to sunny warm LA. And here is my sweet breakfast companion in Burbank!


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Filed under Los Angeles