United’s so-called ‘Misery Class’ tackles competition from LCCs

United’s so-called ‘Misery Class’ tackles competition from LCCs

CHICAGO — As competition from low-cost carriers reaches new highs, United Airlines is fighting back with a new low (fare): Basic Economy.

Already dubbed ‘Misery Class’ by some travellers, United’s Basic Economy fare “provides customers the option of paying the lowest fares to their destinations, while still receiving the same standard economy experience, including food, beverage, WiFi and personal device entertainment, with a few key differences,” said the airline.

Customers who choose Basic Economy will be assigned seats on the day of departure, be assigned to boarding group five and be permitted only one personal carry-on item that must fit under the seat (as Basic Economy passengers don’t have the use of overhead bins). “The new offering provides the added benefit for customers and employees of simplifying the boarding process, as fewer customers will bring overhead bags on board,” confirmed the airline.

Details on Basic Economy can be found at united.com/basiceconomy.

“Customers have told us that they want more choice and Basic Economy delivers just that,” said Julia Haywood, United’s Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer. “By offering low fares while also offering the experience of travelling on our outstanding network, with a variety of onboard amenities and great customer service, we are giving our customers an additional travel option from what United offers today.”

United will continue to offer economy, Economy Plus and domestic first class. The airline is also on track to introduce its reimagined international premium travel experience, United Polaris, on Dec. 1. United is also evaluating a new premium economy experience for domestic and international markets. Delta Air Lines already has a basic economy fare, while American Airlines is said to be getting ready to launch one.

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