United Airlines has announced that passengers flying in Basic Economy now have an option to select their seat when they purchase their tickets or up to 24 hours before their flight departs. The new service is a way for United to make their Basic Economy seating more attractive to passengers. However, the ability to choose your seat comes with a fee.
The airline has stated that the cost to select your seat will be based on many different factors. Your destination, distance traveled, type of seat such as window or aisle, or even demand for that specific flight can all have an impact on the eventual cost of your selected seat. A quick check of flights shows that the price can range from $10 to $20 per selection.
United first introduced its Basic Economy fares last year when they were trying to compete with ultra-low cost carriers like Spirit Airlines. United introduced these fares in a limited amount of areas at first and then made it available in more markets subsequently.
The airline is hoping that the new fee-based service allowing seat selection will help passengers use Basic Economy with greater satisfaction. Travelers have been confused by the fee schedules and restrictions associated with this type of seating.