There is a new bandwagon in the business travel industry – and it’s basic economy fares from major airlines. Delta has had a handle on their basic economy class since last year. But both United Airlines and American Airlines announced their own twist on the basic economy fare within the last three months. With this sudden competitiveness for cheap seats, we decided to compare each new basic economy class by airline.

The gist of basic economy fares?

  • Cheaper ticket prices, but a few of the perks of the flight have been removed
  • Traveler can’t choose their seat
  • They are also the last to board the plane
  • Still has access to on-flight perks such as inflight entertainment, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks

Delta Air Line’s Basic Economy Class

  • Allows use of overhead bin and the area below the seat in front of you
  • If traveling with others or family, it’s likely you won’t be sitting together
  • Traveler will not be eligible for same-day changes or ticket refunds after the Risk Free Cancellation Period
  • Also not eligible for paid or complimentary upgrades or preferred seats, even with Medallion® Status

United Airline’s Basic Economy Class

  • No use of overhead bins for luggage. This is the biggest differentiation with United’s basic economy class.  When originally announced, it spurred a lot of emotion in the business travel community.
  • Seat is assigned prior to boarding. No changes or upgrades are allowed.
  • If you are a MileagePlus member, you will still earn miles from the flight, but you will not accrue Premier qualifying credit or lifetime miles or toward the four-segment minimum, and won’t receive some benefits.
  • Checked baggage is still available for the addition fee.

American Airline’s Basic Economy Class

  • Most recently announced, American’s Basic Economy Fare will go on sale in late February
  • No use of overhead bins – following United’s suit
  • Seats assigned at check-in, but they do offer seat selection for an additional fee.
  • BUT- if you are an AAdvantage elite status member and eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers, you are exempt from certain restrictions
    • Use the overhead bin for an addition piece of luggage (no larger than 22 x 14 x 9 in.)
    • Keep you priority or preferred boarding privileges
    • Keep your checked bag benefits
Carmen White

Carmen White

Carmen is the Digital Marketing Specialist for Christopherson and has been in the marketing industry for more than 6 years. She enjoys learning the ins-and-outs of the business travel management industry and sharing it through blogs or social media. When she's not planning her next vacation, you can find her hiking in the mountains around Denver, CO. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

Leave a Reply