By Megan Stein
December 07, 2016 04:18 PM
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Alexander Hassenstein/Getty

United Airlines has added a new type of ticket to their travel options, and many consumers are not pleased.

The airline’s “Basic Economy” option, which it will introduce in 2017, is less expensive than the standard “Economy” alternative, but the cheaper fare comes with some major strings attached.

United breaks down the details in a post on their website: “You’re allowed to bring a small personal item on board, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) or less,” it states. “Full-size carry-on bags are not allowed unless you’re a Premier member, a primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or a Star Alliance Gold member.”

Checked baggage fees will remain the same, but cutting back on what little traveler’s are currently allowed to bring aboard has some consumers turned off by the apparent update.

“WILL avoid flying with them to the BEST of my ability,” one Twitter user lamented, while a Des Moines, Iowa, radio station questioned, “How long before we have to pay for oxygen?”

The site claims buyers will have the same “cabin experience and services, including Wi-Fi and inflight entertainment,” but “Basic” flyers will lose the small comfort of a pre-assigned seat and “seating together is not guaranteed” for groups, even if they purchased seats at the same time.

“Automated seat assignments will be given at check-in,” the site states. Another post on the site clarifies those jetsetters who’ve opted for the cheaper option will board “in the last boarding group,” unless they’re part of the company’s MileagePlus Premier or is a Star Alliance Gold member, or a primary card member of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card.

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The action has even caught the attention of New York Senator Charles Schumer, who stated in a press release that the practice “represents a slippery slope that could negatively alter the policy on free use of the overhead bins for all fliers.”

Those who find that the cheaper ticket isn’t worth the carry-on restrictions can take a page out of another Twitter user’s playbook (above) and bulk up: “I will be wearing everything for the trip … 4 pairs of socks lots of underwear 3 pairs of pants shirts…” he writes.

Care to take a closer look at just what a “Basic” ticket entails? Here’s the break down of pros and cons, straight from United:

  • Automated seat assignments will be given at check-in, and passengers acknowledge at the point of a multi-seat purchase that seating together is not guaranteed.
  • Carry-on bags are limited to one personal item, unless the customer is a MileagePlus® Premier® member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star AllianceTM Gold member.
  • There will be no voluntary ticket changes except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy.
  • MileagePlus program members will earn redeemable award miles; however they will not earn Premier qualifying credit (miles, segments, or dollars), no lifetime miles, and no contribution to four segment minimum.
  • Customers will not be eligible for Economy Plus® or premium cabin upgrades.
  • Customers will board in the last boarding group (currently Group 5) unless a MileagePlus Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance Gold