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A Guide To Basic Economy

Authors
  • avatar
    Name
    Jonathan Chum
    Twitter
    @jchum

What is basic economy? Basic economy is the lowest fare in the main cabin.

If you are interested in saving money on your travel plans, we are here to help you. As experienced travelers, we understand the ins-and-outs of flying all over the world. One way that you may be able to save money is by flying basic economy. If you haven't heard of this fare before, it is relatively new. We still have a lot of experience dealing with basic economy, so rely on us to help you.

Some of the topics that we are going to cover include:

  • The definition of basic economy
  • Restrictions that come with basic economy
  • Common mistakes that people make and how to avoid them
  • How you can take advantage of basic economy to save money on your travel plans

Learn more about basic economy with our helpful guide!

How Do I Know if I'm Flying Basic Economy?

There are several ways that you can figure out if you are flying basic economy. First, when you book a ticket, you are going to have multiple options available. For example, some of the most common options that you encounter include economy, business class, and first-class. Now, you will also see an option for basic economy if your flight offers it.

In some situations, you may simply click on the cheapest option available. If you aren't sure if that is basic economy or not, take a look at your confirmation ticket. It should clearly indicate if you are flying basic economy. The ticket may also include some other helpful information about basic economy.

Finally, when you check in, you may not be able to select a seat for a basic economy flight online. Therefore, if you have to check in with a desk agent at the airport, there is a chance that you may be flying basic economy. For clarification, ask the agent at the airport.

Are There Additional Restrictions with Basic Economy?

If you decide to fly basic economy, there are restrictions that you are going to face. Some of the most common restrictions include:

You may not be able to select your seat online when you check in without paying money. If you are used to checking in online, you probably see that some seats cost more money than others. With basic economy, selecting your seat before you arrive at the airport may cost you money regardless of the seat's location.

  • You are only allowed one carry-on item if you fly basic economy. Furthermore, you will also have to pay to check all of your bags. The exact cost of your checked luggage is going to depend on your origin and destination.
  • If you have Elite status as a frequent flyer, your Elite status will not apply to a basic economy flight.
  • Regardless of your current status, you will be boarding in the last group. This means that it is unlikely you will have a spot for your carry-on in an overhead bin.
  • In the event that you need to change your flight, there's a good chance that you are going to be charged a large change fee. The fee is going to depend on where your destination is located when you decide to change it.
  • In the event that you have to cancel your flight, you may also be charged a hefty cancellation fee. If you cancel within 24 hours of booking your ticket, or if the airline changes your flight schedule significantly, this fee can be waived.

Finally, if you are used to earning miles that you can convert to rewards, you will not earn Elite miles on a basic economy fare.

What Are the Most Common Mistakes People Make When Flying Basic Economy?

There are a few common mistakes that people make when they fly basic economy. Some of the most common mistakes people make include:

  • They assume they will be able to select a seat online for free. If you fly basic economy, you do not have to pay for a seat on the flight you have already purchased. You simply cannot select it ahead of time. Therefore, you have to wait until you get to the airport when the gate agent assigns you a seat.
  • They assume they get one free checked bag. Even if you have frequent flyer status for a credit card that provides you with a free checked bag, this does not apply to basic economy.
  • They assume they can board in a priority group. Even if you have a credit card that provides you with priority boarding, this does not apply to a basic economy fare.

Try to avoid these mistakes if you are flying basic economy in the future.

How Can I Make the Most of Basic Economy?

The biggest benefit of flying basic economy is that you can save a significant amount of money. Basic economy fares are often discounted in a big way from a typical economy ticket. You simply have to plan in advance.

Make sure you pack light. You are allowed one personal item for free. Try to consolidate your luggage if you can. Then, try to get to the airport a little bit early. This will increase your chances of earning a better seat when you check in because more seats will still be unassigned.

Even though a lot of your credit card rewards are not going to apply to a basic economy flight, there are specific airline cards that may still provide rewards on basic economy tickets. Talk to the airline and see if you can locate one of them. This may help you alleviate some of the restrictions on basic economy.

Consider Flying Basic Economy

Basic economy is the least expensive way to fly around the world. At the same time, it does come with a lot of restrictions when it comes to boarding, luggage, and seat selection. Read all of the fine print carefully if you are booking a basic economy ticket. That way, you can make the most of it.