June 15, 2017
American is Launching International Basic Economy Routes-Sigh

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Yesterday I explained six reasons why I won’t book Basic Economy fares on Delta, United, and American. Basic Economy on legacy carriers doesn’t save you any money. It offers you a stripped-down version of Economy full of painful restrictions for the same price you used to pay for the normal Economy experience. American has been slowly rolling out Basic Economy fares across its US network for a few months now, and will soon be expanding to its first international destination-Canada.


The new routes are between the US and four cities in Canada-Calgary (YYC), Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ), and Vancouver (YVR) and are available on flights starting this weekend. It looks like the domestic Basic Economy rollout has been going well since American is expanding internationally, and United has announced that its own Basic Economy will be coming to Latin America soon. This is just the next step in the unbundling process of the airline industry.


As a reminder, Basic Economy on American is typically about $25 cheaper than Economy and has the following restrictions:

  • No access to overhead bins (no carry-ons allowed). A personal item is still allowed.
  • Seats are assigned at check-in or you can pay (48 hours in advance) to pick your seat.
  • Not eligible for upgrades.
  • No flight changes or refunds.
  • Last to board the plane.
  • Elite Qualifying Miles and Segments are earned at a reduced rate of 0.5 per mile/flight segment flown.