As a travel agent, I have clients comparing their fare against mine, as they well should. When someone questions a substantially lower fare found through a 3rd party site, more often than not, it’s a “basic economy” fare. A Basic Economy ticket can save you money, but just be aware of the limitations that come with it. Basic Economy amenities – or lack thereof – vary by airline, but expect to forfeit the following features:
- Seat Assignment: No advanced seat selection – you’ll be assigned a seat at check in. This is important to know, especially if you are traveling together as a family and want to sit with your kids.
- Opportunity for Upgrades: Ineligible. No requests for seat upgrades are allowed.
- Ticket Changes or Refunds – Not allowed.
- Boarding position – Be the last to board.
- Carry On Baggage – You’re allowed just one bag, and it must fit under the seat in front of you.
- Overhead bin access – not allowed.
When searching for fares, most vendors will have an option tool for not including “basic economy” fares in the results.
For those who can tolerate the bare minimum when flying, Basic Economy can be a great way to fly and save. Just know what you’re getting when you book.