by Michael J. Shapiro | November 15, 2016

United Airlines will roll out a Basic Economy fare option in select markets next year. Beginning in January, travelers will be able to select the new low-fare option when applicable, for travel in the second quarter of 2017 and beyond. 

Basic Economy fares will be available from all sources that sell United seats, including global-distribution systems, direct United channels and online travel-booking sites. When the option is available for any given flight, it will appear in the search results. Initially the launch will take place in as-yet-unspecified select markets, and eventually it will be rolled out for a wider variety of domestic and short-haul Latin American destinations. 

Basic Economy passengers will have the same in-flight options as other economy ticket holders, including opportunities to purchase food-and-beverage service, WiFi and inflight entertainment. Restrictions will include:

 • Passengers will not be able to select seats in advance. Assignments will be given at check-in, with no guarantee that those traveling together can sit together.

• Passengers will be permitted one personal item for carry-on, such as a laptop bag, shoulder bag or backpack. Full-size carry-on suitcases will be allowed only for Premier members, primary cardholders of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or Star Alliance Gold members.

• No voluntary ticket exchanges will be allowed, except those provided under the terms of the 24-hour flexible booking policy.

• MileagePlus members can earn redeemable award miles, but they will not earn Premier qualifying credit nor lifetime miles nor any contribution to the four-segment minimum.

• Passengers will not be eligible for upgrades to Economy Plus or premium cabins 

• Passengers will board in the final boarding group unless they are a MileagePlus Premier member, primary cardholder of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or Star Alliance Gold member.

• Basic Economy fares can't be combined with regular economy fares or partner carriers.

Additional details will be available when Basic Economy fares go on sale in January.