February 28, 2018
WesJet becomes Latest Airline to Add Basic Economy

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I think it’s safe to say Basic Economy is here to stay at this point. What started as a way to supposedly compete with ultra-low cost carriers is now pervasive within US aviation and is spreading to international markets.

As a reminder, Basic Economy is typically an airline’s lowest fare class. In exchange for the low price, customers get an Economy seat with a host of restrictions-like no advanced seat assignments, last to board, no carry-ons, etc. Every airline’s Basic Economy restrictions are slightly different.

Courtesy of WestJet

Air Canada announced its own version of Basic Economy last week. Thankfully it’s only available on domestic routes within Canada for the time being (although I’d bet this will expand to long-haul flights). Air Canada’s rival WestJet just announced that it’s also adding Basic Economy fares with the following restrictions:

  • Tickets are not refundable or changeable after 24 hours
  • Seats will be assigned to you at check-in
  • You can change your seat assignment at check-in (for a fee)
  • You won’t earn any WestJet dollars

WestJet’s Basic Economy fares are initially only available on “select routes and flights.” My blanket rule is to avoid Basic Economy unless there is a massive price difference from Economy, which is rarely the case. It’s just not worth the discomfort. If you do find yourself in an Economy seat, here’s five tips to make it less painful.


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