The Details on American Airlines’ New Basic Economy Fares
This morning, American Airlines officially announced its new basic economy fare, falling in the footsteps of Delta and United, in offering a lower class fare with less frills. The move was largely expected, as it has been talked about for some time. The fares are expected to go into effect starting February 10, 2017.
Here’s the details on the new fare:
Seat assignments – Made automatically and only when customers check in. Paid seat assignments can be purchased 48 hours before the flight.
Upgrades – Not permitted, regardless of elite status level.
Bags – One personal carry-on item that fits under the seat (such as a purse or small backpack) is allowed. No overhead bin luggage may be brought on board. Larger carry-ons such as a rollerboard bag must be checked at the ticket counter for the applicable checked-baggage charge. Basic Economy customers who bring more than an under-seat personal item to the gate will incur regular checked baggage charges plus a $25 gate service charge per bag.
Elite customers and eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers will be allowed to bring one personal item, one rollerboard, and they maintain their current free checked bag allowance.
Boarding – Basic Economy customers will comprise the last boarding group and will be seated in the Main Cabin. Elite customers and eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers will continue to receive Priority or preferred boarding even when purchasing this fare.
Tickets – Non-refundable, non-changeable. Use it or lose it. No same-day flight change or same-day standby.
AAdvantage – Full AAdvantage miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars may be earned when purchasing these fares; however, only one-half Elite Qualifying Mile will be earned per mile flown, and one-half Elite Qualifying Segment per segment flown.
American is selling this new fare as an opportunity to make travel affordable for everybody and to actually pay for the services they receive. This is really more about a race to the bottom for the airlines. As airlines in other parts of the world, and even here in the U.S. with Alaska Airlines, are making their service better, major U.S. carriers are racing to the bottom of providing less and less to the consumer. Also, I see basic economy fares turning into the normal fares, rather than actually meeting Americans claim that customers will have more options.
Next up for the major U.S. carriers: maybe Basic Cargo Hold Fares?