New American Airlines Basic Economy Fare – Is It Worth It?

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Via One Mile at a Time, American Airlines will begin selling their new “Basic Economy” fare on certain routes beginning February 10, 2017.

Similar to United Airlines’ Basic Economy fares, these tickets will come with several restrictions, like no seat assignments more than 48 hours before the flight and no large carry-ons.

If your main concern is getting the cheapest ticket, this could be a good deal for you.  But it might not make sense if you’re used to the standard allowances you get with regular economy tickets!

American Airlines Basic Economy

Purchased a Basic Economy Fare Ticket? You Can NOT Store Your Carry-On in the Overhead Bin

Here’s more about what you can expect from American Airlines’ new Basic Economy fare.  And how to decide if it’s a good deal for you.

American Airlines “Basic Economy” Fare

Link:   American Airlines Basic Economy Fare 

Starting February 10, 2017, American Airlines will begin selling Basic Economy fares in 10 different US markets.  And they plan on expanding these fares to more routes over the year.

American Airlines describes their Basic Economy fare as “no-frills,” which is certainly accurate!

American Airlines Basic Economy

A Comparison of Basic Economy to Regular Economy Tickets

Unlike regular Economy fares, with Basic Economy fares you will NOT be allowed to:

  • Stow a carry-on in the overhead bin (you can only have one personal carry-on under the seat)
  • Change or refund your ticket
  • Pick your seat assignment until 48 hours prior to departure

Also, there are no upgrades allowed and you’ll be the last to board.

American Airlines Basic Economy

Want to Sit With a Friend or Loved One During the Flight? Basic Economy Tickets Aren’t the Best Choice!

That said, you WILL still earn (some!) elite qualifying miles for your flight, unlike United Airlines’ Basic Economy fares.  Though there’s no guarantee these tickets will actually be cheaper than current fares!

Personally, I’m happy to pay a few dollars more to get a seat selection, a proper carry-on, and to earn the full amount of miles and elite credits.

Bottom Line

American Airlines will start selling their Basic Economy fares on certain routes on February 10, 2017.  And they plan to expand these fares to other markets throughout the year.

A Basic Economy fare ticket could be a good deal for folks who just want the cheapest price.  But if you can’t travel light, or sitting with your group is important, it’s NOT a good option.

Would you buy American Airlines’ new fare option?  Let me know in the comments!

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7 responses to “New American Airlines Basic Economy Fare – Is It Worth It?

  1. What happens when you have a premium credit card which allows for group one boarding (and provides other amenities), but purchase a BASIC fare. They provide opposite entitlements. Which controls?

  2. AA co-branded credit card holders and Elite travelers will be exempt from some of the restrictions, which should be noted.

  3. Daraius, How would this work if you also have a Barclays or Citi AA credit card which allows checked bags? Not sure if you mentioned this in a previous post. Thanks.

  4. For a quick trip and less than 3 hours in the plane, may be ok. But so much depends on difference in price.

    My question is: Will existing Platium for Life flyers be able to pick a seat when making a reservation as they are allowed to do now?

  5. United introduced this crappy cheap fare, no wonder they lost so much money recently…crappy ideas like this one need to be ignored with the hope they go away. I swear if the airlines could figure out how to put people on the wing or in the overhead bins at a cheaper rate they would…they have forgotten that air travel used to be about pampering the customer…now it’s about shoving as many butts in the seats as cheaply as possible, with no comfort or respect for the customer….if you want a cheap no frills flight, fly spirit, frontier of southwest…if the big 3 all start going this way there will be no alternative to being nickel and dimed for even the most basic economy ticket.

    • I agree with your points, but I wouldn’t put Southwest in the same “no frills” field as Spirit and Frontier. If anything, Southwest is superior to the big 3 airlines. They allow 2 checked bags with no additional fee, free beverages and snacks and don’t charge any ridiculous change or point re-deposit fees.