United Basic Economy Experience
Following an exhausting and eventful trip to Twin Falls, Idaho to see my grandfather, I made my way home from Boise via United. The airport in Boise (BOI) is clearly on the smaller side, but not without the shops and conveniences of most large airports. It was a perfectly fine place to begin my United Basic Economy experience.
United Basic Economy Basics
To start, let’s look at United’s Basic Economy class and what you get compared to other tickets.
- No pre-assigned seats or complimentary seat selections
- No group or family boarding
- Full sized carry-on bags are not permitted on most routes
- One small personal item is allowed under the seat in front of you
- Last boarding group
- No changes or refund allowed
- Less mileage earning and elite benefits
United Airlines CRJ-200
On this trip I flew from BOI-SFO-LAS with my first leg being on a small United Airlines CRJ-200.
Check In & Security Boise
Since the flight was booked under United Basic Economy and because I was only bringing a personal item, they did not give me a boarding pass online and instead required my bag be inspected at the airport to make sure it was the correct size. Thankfully the lines were not bad at the airport and check-in was smooth. I was also through security and to the gate quickly thanks to TSA Pre-check gained through Global Entry.
At The Gate – Boise
Since I got to the airport a bit early I had time to mope around and eat something. The food choices were somewhat limited at the gate. My choices were between Einstein’s, vBagels and Smashburger, I had a tough decision 🤔. While enjoying my Smash Burger the flight began boarding. As a United Basic Economy passenger I was forced to wait until the last group, Group 5 was called before I made my way onto the plane.
Boarding & Flight
For the flight from Boise to San Francisco United uses a small regional jet with 4 across seating featuring 2 seats on either side of a narrow aisle.
The flight was short in duration (1hr 55 mins.) and felt even shorter since I was able to get some well needed rest. As far as the overhead bins were concerned there was not much room for large carry on baggage. As a United Basic Economy passenger my personal item was supposed to go under the seat in front of me and it fit perfectly.
Seating was skinny, standard and somewhat close together. Although I had a window seat the adjacent aisle was still close (to give an idea of the size of the corridor). They came through the aisles to serve us drinks at least once and offered a small bag of pretzels, which I didn’t take.
Before long we were coming into San Francisco and my head was totally fixed on watching the beautiful bay as the runway came into sight. After touching down we took a stairway to the tarmac and walked into the San Francisco airport and I got ready to take my connecting United Basic Economy flight to Las Vegas.
San Francisco International Airport & Boarding
At the San Francisco Airport (SFO) I didn’t have time to do much of anything besides charge my phone at the gate. Being impatient I didn’t wait my turn and sneakily boarded the plane with group 4 instead of group 5. Everything was fine and before I knew it I was comfy in my seat and the plane was ready for take off.
This flight was much bigger, with 3 seats to a row. I was given a middle seat, but was hoping for an open aisle to slide over. That seemed like it was happening when the flight attendants closed the bins with no aisle passenger, but then the universe brought me back down when the passenger in that seat came running on board at the last second.
United Airlines 737-900 – The Flight
Even being in a middle seat I will say the seats were slightly more comfortable than my previous flight. Also despite being a United Basic Economy passenger I was allowed to place my carry-on bag in the much larger overheard bins. That freed up my foot room which made a huge difference in the middle seat.
The interior of the cabin was a little more updated and modern than my last flight as well. I slept through most of this flight, waking up to drink apple juice and then going right back to sleep. The service was great and the flight attendants came for trash a good amount of times. My cabin-mates were friendly and overall everyone on the flight seemed cheerful. While sitting in the middle seat is crowded, I was comfortable enough to doze off for the 1hr and 35 mins.
Finally, as I usually do when I fly into Vegas I watched the hardened desert mountains that surround my city turn into houses and planted trees then to casinos as we pulled into and landed at LAS.
United Basic Economy Experience – Bottom Line
As a whole my United Basic Economy experience was convenient and efficient. My connection was not long by any means and the flights were drama free. I usually have trouble sleeping so being able to knock out on both flights speaks well to me.
With just a little patience flying United Basic Economy Class is a good replacement for tedious traveling. The flight was a great price, the restrictions weren’t too bad and in the end I got to where I wanted to go for not a lot of money. In that way United Basic Economy worked great.
Have you flown United Basic Economy? Share your experiences and thoughts below.