Basic Economy-Can you ever change the ticket?

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Mar 18, 2015
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Background-I purchased a basic economy fare for $675 in March for a trip 10 days from now. It is my first time purchasing basic economy and it will be the last. I have the explorer credit card so I can check a bag and bring a carry-on with a basic economy purchase therefore I did not see any reason to pay $125 more for a regular economy ticket. I had no reason to think I would not go on this trip.

Unfortunately, the organizer of the trip's sibling died last week and they are no longer going. I understand and accept that I purchased a non-changeable ticket. I wish I could pay a change fee and use the remaining $ towards a flight later this year. Has anyone ever tried to seek an exception to the basic economy terms?

Thanks
 

Neil Maley

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No. Basic economy is non refundable and non changeable. We just had another person today who wrote about this - she contacted the airline and they told her no.

Consumers need to really heed the warnings from the airlines about these tickets - the airlines aren't kidding when they say they are non refundable. You don't say what airline but are you traveling within the US or internationally?

Aren't other people going on the trip? If just the organizer isn't going, why isn't the rest of the group going?
 
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Mar 18, 2015
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There were four of us booked, the organizer is not going, another person on a mileage ticket is cancelling. The one other person is not sure. It is is an expensive destination and I am uninterested in going alone. Losing $675 is one way to learn a lesson.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
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Non refundable and non changeable purchases are classic risk/reward purchases. You are rewarded with a low price when you obtain a product or service on the condition that if you do not use it, the provider gets to keep the money.

In the case of travel, third-party insurance policies and/or some credit card providers can mitigate some of the risk . . .
 
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Mar 18, 2015
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Thanks for the responses. I am a believer in travel insurance but a friend's family members death would not be an insurable reason to cancel.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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Basic Economy rarely makes financial sense unless one has travel insurance. Even then there are situations that most travel insurance will not cover and Cancel for Any Reason insurance is expensive and usually notification has to be made at least 48 hours in advance.

Often BE tickets are a situation of being penny wise and pound foolish.

You can try writing for an exception but be prepared to hear 'no'.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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You may be get lucky with a bad weather waiver or other special circumstance. Will you be traveling through airports that have bad weather this time of year?
 
Mar 18, 2015
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For sure a pound foolish, the regular economy ticket was $125 more and it focused on baggage. The United Explorer credit card includes a carry-on and a checked bag with basic economy. So I would have paid $125 more and then $200 change fee. I rarely change my plans and can think of only one other time I ended up with a worthless plane ticket. I will write customer service and see what they say-the fourth person called and they got a credit with no change fee due to the death but they bought regular economy.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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I will echo what other's have said. I can't see where basic economy ever makes sense, even with insurance. Same with "non-refundable" hotel rates, especially since the price difference is usually small.

Can you go on the trip by yourself?
You can write the airline, but they may not make an exception
 
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jsn55

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For sure a pound foolish, the regular economy ticket was $125 more and it focused on baggage. The United Explorer credit card includes a carry-on and a checked bag with basic economy. So I would have paid $125 more and then $200 change fee. I rarely change my plans and can think of only one other time I ended up with a worthless plane ticket. I will write customer service and see what they say-the fourth person called and they got a credit with no change fee due to the death but they bought regular economy.
Ah, this is awful, your poor friend ... I can't imagine losing a sibling. Now's the time to pull out all the stops about what a loyal United traveller you are. Compose a polite, concise letter, admit you made a big mistake, throw yourself on their mercy, beg for a cancellation and future credit., you'll be so grateful and you'll never book a BE tix again. Oscar has said that he's behind United turning itself around for customer service ... so go for it. If you have the UA affinity CC, check out any travel insurance that might be available. I know there have been some recent reductions in perks, but it's worth checking on. Good luck and please let us know the outcome.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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I’d just go. If the trip is already paid for why throw away the money? It would have been worth the extra $125 for a regular economy ticket vs. losing $675.

The other person got a credit because they had a regular economy ticket. Basic economy isn’t refundable.

“Flight changes and refunds are not allowed

Ticket changes are not allowed with Basic Economy, including advance and same-day changes. Refunds are not allowed except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy.”

No one expects to cancel their trips but it happens. You should have bought travel insurance - this is one of the things most policies cover.
 
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Mar 18, 2015
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For anyone reading this thread, do not buy basic economy, it is not worth the risk. All my future purchases will be regular economy. I was very luck with an understanding customer service person-I sent a short, polite message to United asking for a refund or credit and they said a credit was not possible but would issue a refund with the death certificate.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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For anyone reading this thread, do not buy basic economy, it is not worth the risk. All my future purchases will be regular economy. I was very luck with an understanding customer service person-I sent a short, polite message to United asking for a refund or credit and they said a credit was not possible but would issue a refund with the death certificate.
I couldn't agree more. But 90% of travellers booking on the internet want the cheapest they can find. I'm not sure if they want to brag at cocktail parties or what, but the constant quest for cheap is very pervasive. Basic economy is fairly new, the more people who get burned, the less likely they'll be to ever book it again. Hopefully we can help all our other readers out there avoid the kind of problems we see with chasing the cheapest everything. I'm very glad that United treated you right. Well done!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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I guess death is the only release from the basic economy rigid rules.

I am relieved that you have gotten a positive response; very few people should buy basic economy -- maybe if the change fee is more than the entire fare, but even then that is not a great argument.

Basic Economy on UA does not allow online check in, so it can be even more time consuming.
 
Dec 9, 2016
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www.travelimages.com
We've been running photo tours for 31 years, and without our customers we don't exist.

This is why whenever a few clients have had to cancel within the '100% non-refundable' time period as the trip approaches, we refund as much as possible every time.

As stated, without our customers we can't function as a business, so why would we bite the had that feeds us? For us it comes down to treating folk as we'd like to be treated . . . it's that simple.

So seriously, are we naive in thinking that all travel related businesses should adopt a similar policy?
 
Sep 20, 2015
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Basic economy is a strange beast for the so-called "full service" airlines (in the US, they haven't been full service for many years!). They feel they need it to compete against the discount airlines, but to do this they must dumb down their product as much as they possibly can, but they've already dumbed down their product in the past. This was the theory behind unbundling of fares, that led to now normal practices of paying for baggage, flight changes, desirable seats, etc. So they further limit basic economy to grab the few pax who might otherwise take a discount airline, but hope they realize the already dumbed down product is better then the new "dumberer" product and pay extra for what was normal before.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,697
10,486
113
San Francisco
We've been running photo tours for 31 years, and without our customers we don't exist.

This is why whenever a few clients have had to cancel within the '100% non-refundable' time period as the trip approaches, we refund as much as possible every time.

As stated, without our customers we can't function as a business, so why would we bite the had that feeds us? For us it comes down to treating folk as we'd like to be treated . . . it's that simple.

So seriously, are we naive in thinking that all travel related businesses should adopt a similar policy?
You are so right ... I've been flying even longer and the degradation of service is astounding when you take a step back. Airlines seem to be the only biz that enjoys torturing their customers. And does anyone know anyone who has stopped flying? As soon as they started gobbling each other up, I knew the end was near. Spending time on this forum for a week shows you that the "public" wants the cheapest everything. But there is also a large segment of travellers who are discerning and understand the importance of the experience itself. There are many, many businesses like yours who pride themselves on the quality of their work ... thank goodness! I am always so impressed with travel providers who really care and hopefully there are enough of us to keep wonderful businesses like yours strong and stable. Thanks for your post.