United is Sticking to its Policy of No Bag With Basic Economy
If you hoped United Airlines would consider changing its policy of no carry-on bag with its basic economy fares, you’re out of luck. The airline announced in an earnings call that it was keeping the policy as is. United claimed basic economy is working well. They don’t feel a need to change it.
United’s Chief Commercial Officer said, “The way we designed basic was carefully constructed to allow us to segment our products, to allow us to compete effectively against ultra-low-cost competitors and allow our operation to deliver better results for everybody in terms of on-time departures.” That suggests their perfectly happy with the way Basic Economy is working for them. You have to wonder how they’re not seeing the same problem American was seeing.
A League of its Own
This leaves United as an anomaly amongst the big three of American, Delta, and United. Delta allows a carry-on bag in the overhead space with their basic economy. American Airlines announced last month that they were changing the policy to allow a carry-on bag in overhead space for its basic economy fares. That’s in addition to a personal item. American supposedly made the change because it was losing fares for people who use websites like Google Flights. Google Flights allows customers to filter out fares that don’t include bags.
It’s kind of interesting that the airline is pushing forward with the policy after the CEO’s recent comments. CEO Oscar Munoz recently said, “Our hope is to reinvest in a more enjoyable and caring flight experience for you and all of our customers.” He seems to have missed the memo of how people don’t seem to like basic economy. That’s my impression at least. But there has to be a reason the airline is keeping the policy. It’s most likely selling, and that’s good for them. It’s just too bad that they don’t see the value in listening to many passengers who want the bag. It seems American changed their policy because of the bottom line. It’s surprising United isn’t drawing the same conclusion.