Basic Economy has been created by many airlines to compete with the low-cost carriers that charge for every service. They offer cheaper fares with add on services such as seat fees and luggage. While this sounds like a “bang for your buck option,” in most scenarios you are realistically only saving about $20-$40 each way. If you think that’s still a good deal, I’m here to tell you why hidden fees, half-truths and more make it a horrible option that often ends up costing you more in the long run. (Related: vacation packages, travel vacations, Puerto Vallarta vacation packages)
First off, cheap flights often mean lower expectations and sometimes you won’t even know to expect it. What do I mean by this? Well, many airlines disguise basic economy as “Light Fare” or simply “Basic Economy” to mislead flyers into thinking they’re just getting a cheaper option when in reality their being booked on a major restrictive ticket. When booked in a basic economy, the general “rules” for all airlines are:
– NO Standby
– NO Upgrades
– NO Changes
– NO Seat Assignments (families will be separated)
– NO Refunds
– Limited Carry On
– Last Boarding Group
Missed flights happen and airlines know this. Usually, rebooking a missed flight is permitted with a fee, however, with basic economy, you can count yourself out of any cheap rebooking fee and instead get ready to buy a completely new ticket at full price. If you want to completely cancel a flight, you can expect to say “goodbye” to everything you paid for as basic economy often has no refunds or changes permitted. Now some airlines will bend the rules but don’t expect this. Even if you’re a frequent flyer, most of your benefits will not apply. Basic economy flights have no seat assignments regardless if you are flying with small children and many airlines could care less if your family is separated. You’ll have to rely on the good nature of other passengers to let you sit with your family. So, there is no guarantee in getting seated with your family.
Are you still interested in basic economy? Then go ahead and book your flights and let me tell you about your luggage. After you are the last to board with the last group most of the overhead bins will be full because basic economy is always last to board overhead space is limited. Thus, flyers often find that they must resort to checking their baggage in which of course this means more fees, which defeats the purpose of basic economy. Most airlines charge a $25 penalty and $30 fee to check the bag at the gate for basic economy.
Basic economy may seem like a great deal, however, airlines have figured out ways for customers to end up spending more than advertised. The $20-$40 difference in ticketing from basic to economy is more than worth it and we hope you can see that. Worst of all, many airlines are rolling out international basic economy, could you imagine having a $1000+ nonrefundable ticket?