Basic Economy was created by Delta to respond to ultra low cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit. United quickly matched and made it even more restrictive by banning carry-on bags from basic economy fares.
American matched United’s more restrictive version before backpedaling and moving to Delta’s less restrictive version. Oddly enough United’s international basic economy fares are less restrictive than American’s and Delta’s, though their domestic basic economy fares are more restrictive.
Even with United’s harsh basic economy restrictions, there are still many advantages to buying them over flying Frontier or Spirit.
Airlines like Alaska and El Al have already announced their own plans for basic economy.
The holdouts have been JetBlue and Southwest.
JetBlue held onto free checked bags for a long time, but eventually gave in and even initiated the most recent round of baggage price hikes.
JetBlue announced today that they will launch basic economy fares next year. They wax poetic nonsense about inspiring humanity by offering more choices. That’s great spin, but at the end of the day, customers buying the cheapest fares will board last, won’t be able to make changes to their flights, and will have seating restrictions, though the exact details are still being determined.
JetBlue does point out that they will still offer everyone free WiFi, free carry-ons, free snacks, and free live TV. That’s nice, but basic economy is still an annoyance that clearly won’t be going away. Unless you fly Southwest, that is.
Do you fly Basic Economy or do you buy up to regular economy fares?