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Basic Economy

Most airlines have 3 different classes. Each class offers different amenities such as seat size, better snacks and food, and free alcohol. The problem is the average flyer just wants to travel as cheaply as possible and doesn’t want to pay for those optional extras.

For these passengers the airlines have created a 4th fare class known as Basic Economy. These tickets give major airlines a chance to compete on price with the discount airlines, but they come with a lot of restrictions.

The first and probably biggest restriction is the ability to choose seats. You can’t choose seats with the Basic Economy tickets because these seats are assigned to you at the gate, after you check in, on the day of your departure. These are the leftover seats that no one else wanted. Middle seats, seats at the back of the plane, seats by the toilet. A bigger problem is that because these are the left over unwanted seats, they are spread throughout the aircraft. If you are traveling with other people you will probably be seated apart.

Other issues with these Basic Economy tickets are you can’t cancel the tickets and you can’t change flights. If you have something come up before your trip you won’t be able to change the day of your travel. Also, some airlines charge extra to bring carry on bags with this type of ticket.

That’s not to say that Basic Economy tickets are all bad. They can save you a lot of money. You should just know that once you purchase them you are locked into those travel dates. Also please don’t buy them if you are traveling with children as the airlines may not be able to seat you together.

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Jay Muller

Author of The Flight Advisor