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American Airlines

American Releases Details on Basic Economy Fares

American Releases Details on Basic Economy Fares
Joe Cortez

No-frills fares opening in 10 markets, offering no amenities with the lowest available price.

American Airlines will soon begin offering flyers the opportunity to travel on the cheap, in exchange for the luxuries flyers are accustomed to flying with. In a press release, the airline announced the details of their Basic Economy fares, which will launch in 10 marketplaces this year.

The fares represent the absolute lowest prices for flights available on the legacy carrier, but are stripped of many amenities. For instance, those flying on a Basic Economy fare will not be allowed to select their seat during the booking process, meaning they could be seated away from other members of their party. Those who need to select their seats can pay for seat assignments starting 48 hours before their flight.

Carry-on luggage is limited to one personal item that will fit under the seat, with exceptions for some American AAdvantage elites and those who hold certain AAdvantage credit cards. In addition, flyers who know they will be checking bags must purchase their checked luggage ahead of time, or face an additional $25 fee for checking luggage at the gate.

Those who choose the Basic Economy fare will also lose their opportunity to upgrade or change flights as well. Elite AAdvantage flyers on a basic economy fare will not be eligible to upgrade and cannot make same-day standby changes. Furthermore, while AAdvantage flyers will earn award miles while flying, they will only earn 50 percent credit towards elite qualifying miles and elite qualifying dollars.

While the airline will launch the fares in 10 select cities to start, the airline is expected to expand the fares to additional cities throughout the year. The move comes two years after Delta Air Lines introduced a “basic economy” class to their flights and two months after United Airlines announced they would also introduce a “bare-bones” fare.

[Photo: American Airlines]

View Comments (7)


  1. SarcasticMisanthrope

    January 18, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    American has launched new fares. For those people who want to fly no frills we will be offering seats on the wings of the plane along with SRO in the unheated luggage holds. You as a flyer forfeit all right to complain/change planes/seats or need for oxygen.

  2. TProphet


    January 18, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    Meanwhile Ryanair is moving the other direction after proving the limitations of the “make flying a terrible experience” business model. Hope Southwest eats their lunch.

  3. kulflyer

    January 18, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    The race to the bottom continues.

  4. zarkov505

    January 19, 2017 at 7:42 am

    It will be interesting to see how the gate agents enforce the “single small carryon” rule.

  5. sdsearch

    January 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    zarkov505, perhaps gate agents won’t have to? Perhaps they’ll make Basic Economy tickets unable to check in online, and have to go a special Basic Economy “dragon” to check in at the airport, who will thoroughly analyze everything pulled, carried by hand, or carried on their back that the customer brought, and add all sorts of fees based on that.

  6. drhunter

    January 21, 2017 at 11:23 am

    kulflyer, you’re so right. We’ve been witnessing the McDonald’s-ization of what used to be a quality experience of travel.

  7. jafetzjaim

    January 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    I think this is a DISGRACE. You either operate as a low cost airline or as a “mainstream” one. You can’t have it both ways and subject people to this level of disrespect. Flying economy is becoming a terrible experience, some times humiliating. I hope this new proposal by AA is squarely rejected by consumers.

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