United Airlines Eliminates Online Check-In For Basic Economy Flyers

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Beleaguered United Airlines is making the ‘friendly skies’ a lot less user-friendly for passengers traveling in Basic Economy.

The carrier has eliminated online check-in for Basic Economy flyers, forcing them to stand in line and see an agent, or visit a kiosk at the airport.

The reasoning is that Basic Economy travelers pay less and don’t qualify for a full-sized carry-on bag, so the airline sends them to a United representative to make sure they are, in fact, baggage-less.

Already, the no-frills Basic classification allows no seat assignments, no ticket changes and no upgrade eligibility. Passengers will also be stuck in the last boarding group when they get to the gate.

The inconvenience of not being able to check-in online has miffed more than a few. One customer tweeted, “Having suffered flying on United in the past I now prefer to book ‘basic basic economy’ which is where you don’t get on the flight at all.”

Despite the complaints, United CFO Andrew Levy says more than a third of the airline’s Economy customers are opting for Basic, to save $15 to $20 on their one-way ticket.

Still, Forbes points out that while eliminating online check-in may be good for United’s bottom line, it will likely create longer airport lines, “an inconvenience for both passengers and ground crews.”

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