Travel Guide: The One about Basic Economy

You booked a flight and got it very cheap and you are now excited.

But many travelers are learning that the cheap flight they paid for was “basic economy” and not regular “economy”.

And for those who have read about the confusion, frustration or the anger on social media. You have every right to be upset but unfortunately, United Airlines, Delta (who has been doing it since 2012) and American Airlines are now doing it.

So, you must be wondering, what the heck is “basic economy”?

Basic economy is a new fare option in which people can get lower fares, the do get access to food and beverages and have access to Wifi or inflight entertainment.

But now you lose out on the following:

  • Seat selection and upgrades are not available
  • Group and family seating is not available
  • Full-sized carry-on bags are not permitted (no access to overhead bins)
  • One personal item is allowed
  • Flight changes and refunds are now allowed
  • Your mileage card and member benefits are not available
  • You are the last boarding group

Of the three airlines, at least Delta allows for overhead bin space.

But for most travelers, most will want to go economy.  Sure, you save money with basic economy but that is designed for those who are quickly traveling and don’t bring much aboard the plane.    Because only one personal item is allowed, it has to be quite small.

If you are traveling with your family or loved one, best to go economy because you may be separated on a flight if you choose basic economy.  Remember, with basic economy, you CAN NOT choose your seats.

So, it’s understandable that people are upset.  For example, former NFL player Tim Brown tweeted:

A frustrated father tweeted:

If anything positive to come out of this, many people are now aware that “basic economy” is not the way to go.  Unless you are someone who wants to save a few bucks and only carries a small personal item and have no need for the overhead bin and don’t mind where they sit, then by all means, check out “basic economy”.

But If you are planning to go on vacation and travel, make sure that the flights are “economy” or better, just don’t accidentally select “basic economy”.