Texas carrier expands basic economy to select flights bound for Mexico and the Caribbean.
Less than a year after American Airlines introduced basic economy fares to keep up with competitors Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, the carrier is expanding the lowest-priced option to select international routes as well. The Dallas Morning News reports American is now selling basic economy fares for flights to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Without a formal announcement, the newspaper reports the new fare offerings on international routes began the week of November 27, 2017. While most routes are included, select flights currently do not have any basic economy availability. The routes that do not have basic economy include those to Cuba, Puerto Rico and select Caribbean islands, including St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
American first announced the move to basic economy in January 2017, following their legacy competition into the no-frills seats price competition. Under American’s basic economy rules, flyers were not allowed to select their seats before travel, nor were they allowed more than one carry-on bag. Additional carry-ons and checked luggage not purchased before arriving at the airport are subject to penalty fees.
Basic Economy has been an incredibly valuable tool for American, allowing the legacy carrier to compete against low-cost airlines and their rapid expansion. According to financial projections from the company, basic economy fares are expected to combine with premium economy to add an additional $1 billion in revenue. This projected number does not include additional ancillary revenue raised through in-flight fees.
If the experiment is successful, analysts believe American could prepare to expand basic economy fares to trans-Atlantic routes to take on Norwegian Air and WOW Air. The airline has not publicly commented on the fare expansion.