Are Basic Economy fares as bad as it can get for customers? That was the question posed to me by Leland Vitter, the co-host of America’s News HQ on Fox News yesterday.
There’s been a lot of attention surrounding Basic Economy fares. The vast majority of it isn’t good. Delta started the trend, restricting things like seat assignments and upgrades for people buying these new “cheapest fares”. United followed, and cut deeper than Delta did. In addition to Delta’s restrictions, they didn’t allow carry-on bags (amongst other pain points).
American mostly mimicked Delta and United, though they allowed some elite earning on Basic Economy fares. However, they explicitly said that in the case of travel disruption, you’ll be at the back of the line for finding a new flight. They are at least nice enough to allow you to upgrade without penalty if you book Basic Economy by mistake.
I got to spend a few minutes debating Basic Economy with Leland Vitter on Fox News yesterday. Leland brings up a good point. Shouldn’t consumers be happy with how cheap airfare is, regardless of whether you get stuck in a middle seat? Did I agree with his point? Not really, but we had a good discussion.
Leland hypothesizes that things will get worse. I tend to agree. Which I guess means I’ll be back on the air in the future.
Take a few minutes to watch:
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