We flew from Houston to Chicago today, Sept 14, and when I booked the flights about a month ago, I booked a new fare that United calls "Basic Economy." I didn't notice this was a new fare class, and I don't recall any particular warning or notice that I was booking this new fare class until after I had booked it.
"Basic Economy" is marginally cheaper than "Economy." Like maybe $10 off of a $250 fare. Whoopee! As they say, the devil is in the details. Details like: you cannot pick your seats with this fare class; if you book flights with your family, you WILL NOT get to sit with them; you can't even take a normal-sized (reduced size) carry-on bag, and you only get one bag on board instead of the normal two; no "Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM); also, no changes, PERIOD; no cancellations, no changes. There are so many fare classes, who can keep up?
Sure enough, when my wife and I checked in, we were not seated together. At least they put us both on row 32, almost at the back of the plane, but on separate sides of the plane.
Why is it that the plane is so hot before you take off? Talk about hot, this plane was practically scalding. In this 737, there are three seats on each side with an aisle down the middle. Hell, in first class, there were two seats on each side with an aisle down the middle. For what they charge for first class, there was not that much more room than in coach. OK, more leg room.
And WTF is with the tiny seats in coach?! If you are overweight, you do NOT fit in the seat. Sure enough, one guy on my left was so fat, he spilled over the arm rest into my space. You get hardly any leg room in coach, unless you pay an extra $20 or so, and then you get a whopping extra 3". So your legs are almost under your chin, it's hot as hell, and I am squeezed into the seat.
Each seat now has a TV. How exciting. On comes the CEO, Oscar Munoz of United, to brag that United is now #1 in on-time departures. What bullshit. All this means is that we pull away from the gate "on time." So naturally, after we pull away from the gate, we sit and sit and sit on the tarmac for about 30 minutes, and the plane is so fucking hot I am just a puddle of sweat. You can feel a palpable sense of anger rising from the passengers, but what choice do we have? None. Nada.
We finally took off and the A/C kicked in. At least the flight was relatively smooth. They must fly faster than normal so they can arrive close to on time, but we were about 15 minutes late.
It's a fucking tragedy what United has done to Continental. We had a good airline in Continental, but United has just nickel-and-dimed everyone to death, including their own employees. What are we down to now? 4? 5 big airlines? And they always say the mergers will increase competition and be good for the consumer? Right. Bullshit! When was the last time a big merger was not allowed? I can't remember.
Fuck United. But they are just about the only game in town if you fly from Houston.