United & Its New Seat Charge
United Airlines is following the path of its competitors, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and now charging more to customers who would pay to evade sitting in the back of the plane. The seats are basic economy and do not come with any of the additional perks, such as additional legroom, that would be offered on higher classes.
If the model that American and Delta have is followed by United, then prices will vary depending on the plane, path, and demand. These airlines have been rolling out upgrades that would have, historically, been included in the price of a plane ticket. For United, preferred seating in economy class is the latest of such upgrades. For at least a year, United, American, and Delta passengers who get the lowest fares will board last and cannot pick seating in advance.
United has also launched the ability for guests to achieve elite status with basic economy tickets. Guests need to go on 30 eligible segments or earn 25,000 miles to achieve the first premier level, Premier Silver. In addition to reaching the number of segments or miles, guests must also have spent at least $3,000 in one year.
The company has, on a separate but related note, recently reintroduced a barebones basic economy product for a number of trans-Atlantic flights. The United guests who pay for such a product will be able to choose seats in advance and bring a carry-on bag free of charge, but the first checked bag will come at a cost.
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