Basic Economy, now more restrictions than ever, making Economy feel like luxury!
If the goal was to make Economy look good, then it’s a total success.
On a recent trip to Miami I found out – poor me – I have booked myself into a special low-class travel category, described as Our Lowest Main Cabin Fare, but in reality, it is the rock bottom of rock bottoms, mind you NO savings offered.
As I was on line, the booking engine begged me to upgrade but I did not listen, I was already paying $442.81 per ticket to Miami and wasn’t going to spring for anything else.
Apparently, the airline has just quietly slipped the new category in whereby you can only have ONE item that fits under the seat in front of you, and NO access to overhead bins, you CANNOT get a seat assignment on line, only last minute at check in; if you would like a different seat, tough – unless you upgrade, there will be a fee for that — AND you’re NOT eligible for upgrades, NO flight changes or refunds AND you are boarded last, in group 9, with all other cheap bastards who happened to book the basic fare as well.
I have to say, we still got pretzels, and tea. That was nice. And we were allowed to watch the TV, no earphones, but who knows how much longer that would be tolerated.
AA was not the first to introduce the loser-class fare, United Airlines did so in November with the Barebones Basic Economy, designed to please the so-called Price-Sensitive passengers, with even harsher restrictions: The computer assigns you a seat, NO changes possible, group or family seating NOT guaranteed – unless you upgrade, there will be a fee for that – no full size carry-ons allowed, just itsy-bitsy tiny backpack, NO flight or ticket changes allowed. In the case of United these tickets are really cheap, around $50, unlike AA, that still charges handsomely.
Basic Economy is now meaningfully differentiated from Economy, it is the lowest class of fares ever, and I do not recall being told! I must have missed the memo.
Barebone fares. What’s next? Bareback fares?! Or better yet, Stripped Down fares.
Does that mean that in the future we will have to travel naked, pom pom pasties nipple covers are ok – will I be willing to give up seat selection, boarding priority, and changeable tickets, in exchange for a discount, while naked?