For a lot of airlines, Basic Economy tickets are the cheapest and most restrictive fare options, normally carrying a “use it or lose it” policy. However, United Airlines has recently made their Basic tickets a bit more flexible…but there are some caveats.
The good news is this: If you cancel within 24 hours of booking, you get a full refund. if you cancel or reschedule after 24 hours, but before departure time, there are now a few options you can do.
First of all, there’s now an option to upgrade your ticket to a full Economy ticket anytime after purchasing, which then enables travelers to have a selected seat (and change their seat), bring a full-size carry-on item, fee-free itinerary changes, and more.
But then, as reported by The Points Guy, United came out with a statement, saying “customers can either pay to upgrade to a standard economy ticket, which will allow them to reschedule their flight and give all the benefits of a standard economy ticket, including premier benefits, free seat assignments, a free carry-on bag and more; or if a customer doesn’t want to rebook, they can cancel their trip and receive a residual credit for their basic economy ticket.”
According to Afar, passengers who cancel a Basic ticket will be charged a fee, but given a credit for the remaining amount. The publication states, “those who wish to cancel their Basic Economy booking altogether will receive a flight credit for the original purchase price, minus a cancellation fee. On domestic flights, that fee is $49.50 for a one-way ticket and $99 for a round-trip ticket. On international flights, one-way cancellations cost $99.50, whereas it’s $199 to cancel a round-trip fare.
Meaning if a passenger has a roundtrip flight from Detroit to Seattle booked and it cost $300 roundtrip, they would receive about $200 back in credits.
United is joining Delta and JetBlue, both of whom already have policies in place that give back partial credit for canceled flights on basic fares.