Painfully low prices with even-more painful seats aren’t just for Spirit anymore! Starting this spring your favorite legacy carriers -- American, Delta, and United -- are joining the bare-bones fare game. And while their enticing sub-$100 fares might look like a great deal to fly a non-discount carrier, are they really? Or are they just a sneaky way of getting you to pay even more for a coach ticket and still get stuck in a middle seat.
If you fly coach in this country, nothing should surprise you by now. Especially when something has all the hallmarks of another scammy airline move (checked bag fees, anyone?).
“It’s definitely not a scam. It’s the airlines coming up with a product to target travelers to whom price is more important than other factors,” says Jeremy Quek of American Express Global Business Travel. “Legacy carriers have seen an erosion in this segment, so they’re unbundling their traditional product to capture this segment.”
In other words: Cheapskates, rejoice. What the legacies are euphemistically calling “Basic Economy” fares aren’t a straight copy from the Spirits and Frontiers of the world. While discount airlines quote a stupid-cheap base fare, then tack on extra charges for everything from seat selection to onboard snacks to checked bags, Basic Economy doesn’t do that.