American Airlines introduces new basic economy fare

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed January 23, 2017 12:13

American Airlines introduces new basic economy fare

American Airlines will begin selling basic economy fares in addition to the wide range of main cabin fares currently offered from February in 10 select markets, with the first flights occurring shortly thereafter and expansion to additional markets expected later this year. Not every American Airlines flight will offer Basic Economy fares.

“American Airlines now has something to offer every customer, from those who want simple, low-price travel to those who want an ultra-premium experience via First Class,” said American Airlines President Robert Isom. “Importantly, this new fare product also gives American the ability to compete more effectively with the growing number of ultra low-cost carriers.”

Basic economy passengers receive the same in-flight experience that all main cabin customers receive, including free entertainment options, soft drinks, and snacks, and the same seats. Seat assignments are made automatically and only when customers check in, although paid seat assignments can be purchased 48 hours before the flight. Upgrades are not permitted, regardless of elite status level, and only one personal carry-on item is allowed that fits under the seat (such as a purse or small backpack). 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.

Basic economy customers will comprise the last boarding group and will be seated in the main cabin. Tickets are non-refundable, non-changeable.

The announcement has been denounced by Senator Charles Schumer who says other airlines will likely follow suit and that one day all passengers might have to pay extra if they want to stow a suitcase overhead.

“You don’t have to know how to read the tea leaves to see that when it comes to new airline fees, the future looks turbulent for consumers,” Schumer said. “Yet again, and as predicted, another major airline just made it harder for everyday consumers to fly by banning the free use of the overhead bin for some travelers.”

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed January 23, 2017 12:13