Although Delta and SkyTeam partners Air France and KLM will offer a basic economy option for trans-Atlantic flyers, don’t expect it to come with any amenities. The Atlanta-based carrier will charge $60 for a checked bag when flying bare-bones international fares starting in April.
Flyers preparing for travel across the Atlantic on a Delta Air Lines basic economy fare should prepare to open their wallets if they want to check luggage. Bloomberg reports the airline, along with international partners Air France and KLM, will charge luggage fees for international basic economy flights beginning April 10, 2018.
While the carry-on allowance won’t be affected, those who wish to check luggage to their final destination with a basic economy ticket will pay $60 for one piece. This is in addition to the airline’s other restrictions for basic economy flyers, including no advance seat selection or same-day changes.
Legacy carriers like Delta claim adding the basic economy fares are the only way to stay competitive against other low-cost carriers, including Norwegian Air and WOW Air. Both trans-Atlantic airlines offer low fares abroad, but charge for everything from checked luggage to seat upgrades. In a recent investor’s call, Delta leadership said they are optimistic about how the move will affect their bottom line.
“[Basic economy is] a great tool for us to be more competitive in terms of the fare itself with the [ultra low-cost carriers] in the trans-Atlantic,” Delta president Glen Hauenstein said on the Jan. 11 call, according to Bloomberg. “And we’re very optimistic about how that will play out.”
Delta has lead the way for other airlines to begin offering their own basic economy fares, as well as other changes that benefit the profit sheet. At the end of 2014, Delta announced the launch of basic economy fares, followed quickly by abolishing award charts for SkyMiles flights. Nearly three years later, American Airlines and United Airlines followed suit, with American considering the value of dynamic award charts.
Although American has expanded basic economy fares to Mexico and the Caribbean, Neither the Dallas-based carrier nor United announced if they will expand their basic economy fares to Europe. However, consulting firm IdeaWorks predicted in a statement to Bloomberg that checked luggage fees could become the norm on trans-Atlantic flights by 2019.