February 21, 2017
New Basic Economy Fares are Live on American Airlines

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Basic Economy

Last month I wrote about how American Airlines would be introducing Basic Economy, its newest fare class, to better compete with low cost airlines like Spirit and Frontier. American, Delta, and United have all announced plans to introduce Basic Economy fares on select routes. Here are some of the highlights from the new fare class:


  • Cheapest economy fares available.
  • 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.


First Basic Economy Routes

Basic Economy fares are active as of today on flights starting March 1, 2017 on the following ten routes:

  • Charlotte (CLT)-Orlando (MCO)
  • Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)-Baltimore (BWI), Tampa (TPA), Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Miami (MIA)-Tampa (TPA), New Orleans (MSY)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)-New Orleans (MSY), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Charlotte (CLT), Miami (MIA)


More cities and routes will be announced as American gradually rolls out the new fares.


Final Thoughts

Travelers trying to qualify for elite status should avoid Basic Economy as you only get half the EQM and EQS you do from flying regular economy. If you value carry-on luggage, choosing your seat, and not being the last to board the aircraft I’d also avoid these fares. Basic Economy is really only a good option for casual flyers who don’t care where they sit, don’t have a carry-on, and want the absolute cheapest way to get to their final destination. As someone who actively tries to get airline status and cares a lot about seat assignments, I have little interest in these fares. I suspect the price difference between Basic Economy and regular Economy won’t be too drastic.