What’s the Deal with those $76.00 United Basic Economy Flights?

cheap united airlines basic economy flights

I have yet to find a city that I’ve had a bad time in. When I get on vacation-mode, I am ALL. IN.

Let’s be clear: I do not travel a lot & so I am not one of those humans blessed with bottomless hotel points & airline miles. When I go somewhere, I pay with money.

Besides my schedule being too crazy to leave the city for more than 24 hours (#RealtorLife), one of the biggest deterrents of travel has always been the sheer cost of flying. If you remember my recent post about paying off $42k in debtΒ over the last 12 months, we’ve been kinda money sensitive & the thought of a $500 one-way domestic flight kinda makes me want to vomit.

But we really wanted to find a way to see our family in Washington D.C. this past October & were honestly pretty floored at the rock bottom prices from United Basic Economy.

$76 domestic flights from Chicago to DC… um, is this Europe?

What’s the Deal with those $76.00 United Basic Economy Flights?

So you may be thinking, “What’s the catch?” which is a fair question because, duh, of course there is a catch. These flights are cheaper than a single night out in Washington D.C.

The catch is there are A LOT of restrictions that comes with these tickets. And if you try to proceed in purchasing the tickets, they warn you OVER & OVER that these tickets are basically the pits. Frankly, they want to discourage you from purchasing them at all.

I’m not kidding, see below:

cheap flights united basic economy

You literally have to click a button confirming that you are in fact a cheap-ass.

Good efforts on United’s part, but we decided Basic Economy was fine for us. What’s life without a little adventure?!

The Good, Bad & Ugly: Our Experience with United Basic Economy:


The 1st Reg Flag was the baggage and this almost made us change our minds about these cheap airline tickets. Bringing a full-sized carry-on is NOT permitted & checking a bag costs $25.

Well that’s just rude & annoying.

Then we did a little math: If my husband and I both bumped up in ticketsΒ justΒ so that we could carry on our a bags, we would still be paying more than if we just shared a checked bag and paid the $25.00.

So that’s what we did. We checked one bag for the both of us, then got to walk through the airport empty handed.

It was actually awesome. We considered this a BIG win. 1 point: Gorski.

travel with united basic economy

Sitting with Your Group:

So obviously United makes the bold claim that they’re not guaranteeing they’ll sit you with your group. But Lee & I both agreed — yeah right, what are the chances — as long as we check in together we should be fine.

But OF COURSE just to spite us, our seats were across the aisle from one another, which is kinda funny. I seriously think United just did this to feel some sort of vindication after those RED X warnings.

Sitting next to Lee would have been NICE but in reality, I didn’t really mind (haha, sorry Lee). I already had planned on catching up on some podcasts, so this seating arrangement was actually better suited for that. So the Joke’s on you, United.

Changing Your Seats:

But in reality, United got the last laugh. On our flight home, although we were seated together, we were in the Very. Last. Row.

Yep, right next to the shitter.

We laughed it off but honestly, we were pretty annoyed because those are terrible seats. I mean, just terrible. The constant flow of people, the faint chemically smell from the toilets, and then the bumpiness of the plane from being in the LAST row.

Turns our you cannot be a princess if you’re only willing to spend $76 on flights.

Final Thoughts of Dirt Cheap Airline Flights:

Bottom line is, you get what you pay for & if you’re not willing to just roll with it, don’t even think about Basic Economy. But at the end of the day, I think we got WAY more than we paid for — a much-needed weekend getaway with family that we could actually afford (without getting way off track with our goal to pay off debt!)

P.S. Why didn’t anyone warn us how fun Washington D.C. is?!

united basic economy from chicago to washington dc

we traveled with united airlines basic economy

travelling from Chicago for cheap

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