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American Airlines introduced their new “Basic Economy” ticket, and America freaked out, but that freak out may have unwarranted. Most regular airline passengers have visceral reactions to the term “basic economy”, but most also admit the title itself is shrouded in mystery as well as misinformation.
Over the past year, the three biggest airlines in America, Delta, United, and American, have all introduced some version of the same thing, the basic economy fare class that offers an even lower priced ticket in exchange for even fewer frills and more restrictions.
Basic economy is really just a discounted fare class that exists in the economy cabin of the plane. The in-flight service is the same as a main cabin economy passenger meaning they will have the same seats, the same perks, and the same amenities as anyone else who is flying coach. The difference comes before the passenger even boards the plane. The biggest restriction is carry-on luggage. All 3 US airlines will allow one personal item or bag, but they prohibit anything that will require using the overhead storage bin. If you take your bags to the gate and they are too large to be a carry-on, or you have too many bags, they will be checked at the gate where you can expect a fee that will run at least $50.
People who go the basic economy route will not be able to select their seats prior to the time of purchase, they will be assigned seats when they check in for the flight. No post-purchase refunds or changes will be allowed to be made to the ticket. Finally, those who hold basic economy tickets will be the last to board the aircraft.
Airlines are trying to offer a cheaper way to fly, because they know that this is what consumers are asking for. While this basic economy ticket is about as basic as it gets, it will probably work for those who are taking quick day flights or overnight trips. It may not be the best ticket on the market, but airlines are looking to make a profit at the end of the day, and this choice gains ticket sales while making people happy to see a cheaper ticket option. For more detailed information on this ticket head to Business Insider.