American Airlines introduces 'Basic Economy' fares

4 replies

Steve Doyle

Member since 13 Sep 2016

Total posts 6

American Airlines has confirmed the launch of 'Basic Economy' fares, joining Delta and United in creating a sub-economy caste.

But what is Basic Economy, exactly? These are 'no-frills' tickets although you still get IFE, soft drinks, and snacks, and also the same seats as economy.

Seat assignments: made automatically and only when customers check in (no advance seat selection)

Upgrades: Not permitted, regardless of your status level.

Bags: one personal carry-on item that fits under the seat, such as a purse or small backpack; no luggage for the overhead bin may be brought on board. Any bags beyond the one small personal bag is checked luggage and charged accordingly. "Basic Economy customers who bring more than an under-seat personal item to the gate will incur regular checked baggage charges plus a $25 gate service charge per bag." However, 'elite' frequent flyers are allowed to bring one personal item and one 'rollerboard'  small cabin bag "and they maintain their current free checked bag allowance."

Boarding: Basic Economy customers board last, unless they are 'elite' customers who have priority boarding rights.

Tickets: Non-refundable, non-changeable. Use it or lose it. No same-day flight change or same-day standby.

Full AAdvantage miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars earned, but only one-half Elite Qualifying Mile will be earned per mile flown, and one-half Elite Qualifying Segment per segment flown.

American Airlines says Basic Economy fares will be priced lower than regular economy fares.


Member since 14 Jun 2013

Total posts 109

Good summary, thanks Steve. AA had better make these fares much cheaper to appeal but good if this helps them crack down on silly Americans who think they can bring massive bags on board and stuff them into the overhead bins. Basic Economy is really aimed at the price-sensitive tourist market although those people will be stung by checked baggage fees.


Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,058

Don't expect prices to come down! The current cheapest full-frills Economy fares will now be your no-frills Economy. If you want old school economy you'll have to pay more.

Any idea which inventory specifically these Basic (no-frills) fare will be sold in? Currently cheapest AA fares are N, Q, S fares...


Member since 21 Apr 2012

Total posts 2,058

Hi guys,

I've got an update from Travis @onemileatatime.

It seems AA no-frills is being sold in O inventory.

Just thought you guys might be interested.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Jan 2013

Total posts 108

So basically they've taken the standard economy, added booking and tighter bag restrictions and will raise the prices of most other economy tickets?

Doesn't seem as bad a UA's code named 'where is your god now' economy. 

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