Upgrade United Airlines Basic Economy Fares
United Airlines was one of the first carriers to introduce Basic Economy fares back in 2016. These are the cheapest fares available, but come with some important restrictions. So, you’ll want to be sure to review carefully before booking. Basic economy fares normally lack advance seat assignments, carry-on bags, and are nonrefundable and nonexchangeable. So passengers going for these lowest fares would just forfeit the value of any unused tickets if there’s a sudden change in travel plans, or any other reason that makes traveling not possible.
But now, United Airlines has made an important change to Basic Economy fares. You can finally upgrade United Airlines Basic Economy fares. This allows passengers to cancel or change their flights and use credits for future travel. Passengers can pay a nonrefundable upgrade fee to economy, and make changes to their itineraries. There are no additional change fees, but they will have to pay the fare differences if they change to a more expensive flight. Passengers switching to cheaper flights will get the difference back as a credit for future travel on United. Upgrading also gets you all the other benefits of a full economy fare. That includes some of the things mentioned above, such a free carry-on, seat assignments, and the option to use frequent flyer upgrades.
While this will usually turn out to be more expensive than booking an Economy fare in the first place, it does give customers more flexibility. A United spokesperson confirmed to Travel+Leisure that the current rate for upgrading from a basic economy to a regular economy fare is $45 each way.
This upgrade option for United basic economy fares is limited to domestic tickets and short-haul international flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.