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United ‘Switch to Economy’ Option Gives Basic Economy Tickets a Lift

The new policy allows holders of lowest fare tickets to move to standard coach fare for a service fee

February 10, 2021

United Airlines has introduced a switch to Economy option that allows holders of Basic Economy tickets to upgrade to a regular coach seat. There is a nonrefundable service charge for making the change.

The new feature allows travelers to enjoy most of the benefits that come with a standard Economy fare, including the option to bring one full-size carryon bag on board.

The upgraded ticket also grants a complimentary seat assignment prior to check-in (with Basic Economy, this feature costs extra). Customers also have the ability to purchase Economy Plus or premium cabin seats, and the option to upgrade using loyalty program points.

Mileage accrual and Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) will be based on the original Basic Economy fare, and no PQP will be earned for the service charge.

Switch to Economy is available only on select domestic flights and short-haul flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Seat assignments purchased prior to switching will not be refunded. However, travelers may apply the value of the prior seat purchase to a new seat (Economy Plus or premium cabin upgrade) for their Economy ticket.