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United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

Minneapolis...
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United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

I recently booked a short domestic flight with united to ORD, where I was able to find a much better fare on an international flight. As it turns out, this first flight is one of the Basic Economy tickets, which limits you to 1 personal item. I am planning on packing lighter for my trip (1 larger backpack and a small day backpack), but I'm curious what happens if you bring your larger bag to the gate. The other thing is that I only have a little over an hour between when I land in ORD and when I take off for my international trip, so I really don't want to have to pick my bag up in baggage claim to re-check and carry on to my final destination. I'm wondering if anyone has advice or knows what happens when you do bring your bag to the gate. I know you pay a handling and check fee, but do they just gate check, or is sent to baggage claim? Would there be a way for me to just get the bag routed all the way to my final destination since it's all United flights?

16 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

With the basic Econ tickets if you say you have no bags I don't think you can check I online. I think it will force you to see an agent and the agent will force you to check your bag. Basically they don't want people showing up at the gate trying to gate check bags on basic Econ tickets.

Houston, texas, USA
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2. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

In your case with an international with them even on a separate ticket I would think while they will charge you for the bag that they would then check it through to your international destination. I would certainly check with then no later than check-in. On the new least expensive tickets all the airlines are strict , very strict, about carry ons.

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

"The other thing is that I only have a little over an hour..." Then unless your onward flight is with United and they link the reservations, you do not want to check the bag. Get rid of that Basic Economy or be prepared to check the larger carryon and get them to link the two airfares (which may not be possible). If you take the larger bag to the gate, you will be charged a fee on top of the checked bag fee. I believe the penalty is $50. The bag will be taken and checked. You will then have to retrieve it in ORD and go through security to get to your next gate. There is no hope of you making the international flight if that is the case.

So...

Option 1... change the Basic Economy fare. They *may* let you upgrade to a different fare bucket, but they don't have to allow that. Then travel as normal. Recognize though that if your flight is late, even by a little, you will not make the international flight. Even worse, you will have no-showed for it and the entire ticket is forfeit. All for the sake of "saving" $20 on the initial flight and not allowing enough time between flights. On separate tickets the rule of thumb is 6 hours before an international flight.

Option 2... Call them and get them to join the two airfares (assuming that the international flight is also United... if it isn't, you need to pay the $200 change fee or simply abandon the ticket and buy a new one on a much earlier flight). Then check your larger carryon.

You have broken a couple of basic rules. Spend some time and money to fix them.

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

" I would think while they will charge you for the bag that they would then check it through to your international destination." - Assuming that both flights are on the same airline or were purchased as a code share. OP doesn't say the airline of the onward flight.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

With Basic Economy, unless you are paying to check your bag, you must check-in at the airport. This is to prevent people who purchased a Basic Economy fare from bringing a bag to the gate.

Your post seems to suggest you are on two separate tickets. If the next flight is with UA, simply pay to check your bag at ORD and UA should check it all the way through. You'll have to pay for the domestic leg unless you get an agent who will waive the fee.

Edited: 16 August 2017, 01:45
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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6. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

"If the next flight is with UA, simply pay to check your bag at ORD and UA should check it all the way through"

I assume you mean on transit to ORD. Only if the agent is in a good mood. If the tix were booked separately UA has no obligation to check it all the way through. If booked on the same ticket, UA takes on the responsibility of your bag arriving at the final destination. This is one reason why sometimes tix booked separate are cheaper than booking as one (along with other reasons of course). Companies are not into accepting additional responsibilities without added compensation if they are not required too.

Now as far as one hour.....unfortunately everything will have to go perfect for you to make your flight. I'm not familiar with ORD. Do you know if your domestic flight arrives in the same terminal as your international flight? Will you have to change terminals and go through security? If so I can't see it working. I personally wouldn't do it. I think the above advice to spend time and money now is a good one. Call UA and discuss your options. There may be a way to get your travel on one ticket.

Edited: 16 August 2017, 03:22
Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

If OP's already booked, they can't combine both flights on one ticket. They'd have to cancel and start over.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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8. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

"If OP's already booked, they can't combine both flights on one ticket. They'd have to cancel and start over."

Usually this is correct. Occasionally, if you call and beg airlines will do it. However, I suspect with such a small window they will not be co-operative. If it were me I would "burn" the short flight and protect the long haul. If the long haul is missed, UA is not going to care why. A new ticket at the "walk up" rate will need to be purchased.

Palmetto, Florida
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9. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

All all these possible hurdles, difficulties and penalties facing a traveler are fairly new, now that airlines know how to make life more miserable for you so they can harvest some more money. I find it extremely refreshing and human when I encounter a person or business who is friendly and cooperative. What a gem of a find it is anymore.

Palmetto, Florida
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10. Re: United Airlines Basic Economy Baggage Handling

An I am going hoarse :)) repeating myself: forget the basic economy. It's an inferior product not worthy of selling or of your consideration.

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