United, Delta and American Airlines are getting ready to unveil their new Basic Economy fares in an attempt to compete with the hundreds of low cost carriers popping up across the world. In theory it sounds great, but what’s involved and what should you know before making the leap to a much cheaper fare? What’s the catch? Well there are plenty…
- No checked bags. No exceptions on this – you literally cannot check a bag.
- No seat assignment so you might as well call this “the middle seat” fare.
- No luggage in the overhead bins. That’s right! Unless you can pack everything for your trip in a small back-pack, you will be luggage-less.
- Absolutely no money back or credits if you want to change your itinerary.
When is it worth it?
- If you Fedex your luggage and don’t mind sitting in the middle seat, this fare could be okay for you depending on how much you save.
- You are going somewhere for a quick weekend trip and don’t need much with you.
If you’re traveling internationally and still want to take advantage of lower fares, here’s my advice: book a ticket to JFK depending on where you live and fly on any of the following low-cost carriers to your final destination. You’ll need to use a carry-on so you don’t have to go back through security and re-check your bag, but you’ll have a lot more flexibility and you’ll still save a lot of money. You also will be able to use overhead bin space:
There are more options now than ever to save money on air travel, but you have to be aware and prepared for the drawbacks in every scenario.