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Rail Paul

About those "basic economy" fares

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United and American Air have introduced something called basic economy. Low fare, you go into group 5, can't use the over head bins, and have to wear a red BE on your forehead. OK, I made that last one up.

 

Your one carry on bag plus personal item must fit under the seat at the same time. Any bags taken from you will have a standard checked baggage fee, plus a $25 gate charge. Being an elite level flyer or using the carrier's branded card will get you the free bag check.

 

The purpose seems to be to get primacy of place in the listings from Expedia, Kayak, etc. Most people rank by price, then weed out the 5.30am flights, the six changes of planes, etc

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Delta's basic economy does let you use overhead bin space, though.

 

Bizarrely, the one time I took it, I did get upgraded to one of those economy seats with more legroom and got allowed to board in the Sky Priority group, even though that's not supposed to be allowed.

 

I don't have status on Delta, either.

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I've heard of people with lots of frequent flyer miles/perks who book the lowest fare with the confident expectation of getting an upgrade.

 

Yes.

 

The article mentions exceptions on the baggage surcharges for people who have elite status, so the potential for upgrades makes sense for that limited slice.

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