CHICAGO — Cheaper fares don’t come without extra costs elsewhere.
United Airlines announced Tuesday that it will begin offering Basic Economy fares but will restrict those fare users from bringing full-size carryons on flights. The Chicago Tribune reported that only personal items, that can be stored below seats, can be brought on board.
USA Today reported that the move comes as United, one of the major airlines in the U.S., attempts to compete with low-cost carriers like Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines.
“United’s move to encourage fewer carry-on bags, similar to practices at Frontier and Spirit, will create a safer cabin for passengers and crew,” President of the Association of Flight Attendants union Sara Nelson said in a statement. “Excess bags in the cabin lead to flight attendant injuries, slower boarding times, and passenger altercations.
“Flight attendants manage these safety and security issues often under the pressure of on-time departures and during a critical period for ensuring the overall security of the flight,” she said. “Footage from recent aircraft evacuations show that passengers grabbing these bags risks the lives of everyone onboard.”
Other restrictions include the inability to exchange or refund basic fares and select a seat ahead of time. Basic Economy customers will also board last.
Despite some restrictions, United said Basic Economy customers will still be able to have some perks, including snacks, Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment. Basic Economy sales will begin in early 2017.