18 Jan

AA Fights Ultra Low Cost Carriers

Basic Economy on American Airlines:

3 Good Advantages and 7 Bad Things with AA’s Ultra Low Cost Fares

American Airlines announced today that they will start selling their new Basic Economy tickets on February 10. Delta and United have announced similar programs, since these legacy carriers are feeling the hurt from airlines like Spirit and Frontier.

This is what we know so far:

They will roll it out on 10 routes, and they have not detailed them yet.

This will be the cheapest ticket, but it will have a lot of restrictions.

The Good News About Basic Economy

  1. Cheapest available fare
  2. Elite AAdvantage members and eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers will be allowed to bring one personal item, one rollerboard, and they maintain their current free checked bag allowance
  3. Flyers will still earn award miles – those miles that you will use for a free ticket in the future.

The Bad News About Basic Economy

  1. No roller-board carry-ons, and you cannot pay for one if you want to.
  2. Only small backpack, purse or duffle bag that will fit under the seat is allowed.
  3. Seats will be assigned at check-in
  4. Upgrades are not permitted, even if you are an Elite AAdvantage member
  5. 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. (OUCH)
  6. Will board last, except if you have Elite Status
  7. One-half Elite Qualifying Mile will be earned per mile flown, and one-half Elite Qualifying Segment per segment flown.

Check out the breakdown provided by AA:

The Skinny on Basic Economy

It may be good if you are traveling light, or are on an uber-restricted-budget. It is good for Elites.

AA, like Delta and United, now will sell their lowest fare possible.  It seems that their are a bit cautious, as they will be starting with 10 markets, and, as they shared in their press release, they will “be evaluating the right mix of products to offer our customers and we may change those offerings depending on customer demand.”

So what is up next?  It seems like they are just doing it for Domestic flights.  Will they do the same for International?

We will be updating this post to get you the latest.  But…

Will you pay the lowest fare on Basic Economy, or will you just buy the regular Coach class ticket?

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