The New Airline Fare to Avoid: Basic Economy

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The New Airline Fare to Avoid: Basic Economy

by Amy Lignor


Whether on business or going on vacation, buying airline tickets in this day and age is getting more difficult. The most recent term in airfares is “Basic Economy.” Now, all people want to nab the cheapest flight they can get in order to save money, yet even travel agencies are now scrambling to explain to their clients that “Basic Economy” may save $30 to $50 from a standard airfare price, but will not grant them the same privileges.

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The terms “Basic Economy” and “Standard Coach” sound the same, and are the same in any other industry, but what Basic covers are tickets sold at a discount – thirty to fifty dollars less than standard coach tickets – by the three largest airlines: Delta, United and American.


When opting for Basic, fliers are stripped of basic amenities, like advance seat assignments and overhead bin space. Now, for some, it works. There are those who don’t mind losing amenities if they can save fifty dollars. However, this could work the opposite way, which seems to be what the airlines are betting on; that with the constraints, people will get upset and thus spend more, upgrading to standard coach tickets, or higher.


With Basic, the flier cannot get a seat assignment until right before departure and cannot make same-day flight changes. On Delta, these ticket holders are boarded in the last group and aren’t eligible for upgrades or extra legroom seats. On United and American, the Basic Economy ticket holders are last in the boarding line unless they hold a qualifying credit card that gets them earlier boarding. If a person happens to get confused and ends up bringing a full-size carry-on for the overhead bin, they will be charged $25 to check it at the gate, which then takes away most of the money originally saved when purchasing this discounted ticket.


Families and groups are being told to avoid Basic Economy tickets because when choosing this path, there is absolutely no chance of sitting together on the flight. In addition, Basic Economy should not be purchased if the flier is worried about getting bumped from a flight, because having no seat assignment is more likely to cause involuntary denied boarding if the flight is overbooked.


As far as the revenue boosts for the big three airlines, American says the average upsell so far has been miniscule. Delta chimes in with the statement that they received an extra $100 million in revenue in the second quarter from this strategy, which includes upsells so that fliers could get extra-legroom and first-class seats. Lastly, United’s President Scott Kirby said the airline in the second quarter did not get the expected revenue boost they thought they would, but they still expect Basic Economy to add at least $200 million when figures are tallied at the end of 2017.


There are many companies that have completely removed this airfare from corporate travel-booking sites, and travel agencies online. American Express Global Business Travel showed that 66% of its clients opted out of the Basic Economy fares because fares that are completely unchangeable or nonrefundable end up costing companies more money.


Most people agree – whether vacationers, travel agencies, or business people who do a great deal of flying, that Basic Economy would perhaps help the airlines more if the airlines would do a better marketing job of the program. That way, people coming to the airport with Basic Economy tickets would know ahead of time the potholes that can occur when purchasing that lower airfare. As it stands now, most people with those tickets in hand get angry because they had no idea that certain extras had been given up.


What comes next? The big three will remain in business; that’s a fact. However, Southwest and most especially JetBlue, which is becoming a “favorite” airline of many businesses across the country, will gain fliers because of these Basic Economy tickets and the negatives that go along with them.


So make sure, before booking your flight, that you know all the ins and outs that come along with your ticket. Saving money is always a good thing, just make sure that the choice made doesn’t cost more in the end.


Source:  Baret News


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