Previously offered only by discount carriers, the “basic economy” class is also offered by Delta. This fare competes with ultra-low cost carriers (LCCs) like Spirit and Frontier. What you get is simply transportation from point A to B with restrictions on seat selection and checked bags, no refunds or changes, and no upgrading to elite perks.
At JP Morgan’s Aviation conference in March, both American and United announced they are following suit with Delta. American will stick with the name, “basic economy,” and will introduce the option in the second half of 2016. United will call their new fare class, “entry level,” with no announcement of when. Routes were not announced by either airline. Delta started with routes to and from locations where they compete with Spirit and Frontier, but is slowly moving into other cities.
Of these new options, Skift’s Grant Martin wrote, “And while it’s a lucrative change for the airlines and premium travelers, unrest among budget travelers may start to grow. With no alternative airline to find refuge in, however, the budget travel community may finally be out of luck.”