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United and partners roll out no-frills transatlantic fares

United Airlines and its joint venture partners will begin selling no-frills basic economy fares in select transatlantic markets from 5 June.

The fares do not include a checked bag, or allow upgrades or changes after booking, the Chicago-based carrier says in a presentation sent to UK-based travel agents on 30 May. The fee for the first checked bag is $60.

United's transatlantic basic economy offering has fewer restrictions than the domestic equivalent that it rolled out in 2017. Those fares, for example, do not allow passengers to bring large carry-on bags that must go in the overhead bin or seat assignments prior to check in.

Passengers flying across the Atlantic that are booked in basic economy will be able to bring carry-on bags aboard and select seats at booking, the presentation shows.

United joint venture and Star Alliance partners Air Canada, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss will begin selling comparable basic economy fares on the same day.

Lufthansa, which brands its no-frills offering "economy light", only announced their expansion to the transatlantic market earlier in May. It began testing the fares on Scandinavian routes in October 2017.

United aims to generate $1 billion in additional revenue from cabin segmentation initiatives, which include basic economy fares as well as its planned premium economy cabin, by 2020.

In addition to the additional revenues, no-frills fares also help United and its mainline peers better compete with low-cost carriers, like Norwegian and Wow Air across the Atlantic.

American Airlines began selling transatlantic basic economy fares in April, and Delta Air Lines has sold them in the market since last year.

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