On Jan. 18, American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) issued a press release announcing its Basic Economy fares. The press release is available on the American Airlines website.
The new fares will go on sale beginning Feb. 10 in select markets. The first flights offering Basic Economy service will begin shortly after Feb. 10.
Although American Airlines will expand the number of flights on which it offers Basic Economy fares in the coming months, the airline says it will not offer the fare class on all flights. (See also: ‘Last Class’ – A Sub-Economy Seat You Might Want.)
A customer who purchases a Basic Economy ticket will pay a lower price than a passenger who purchases an economy ticket. In exchange:
- Basic Economy passengers will not be able to select their own seat before check-in. Paid seat assignments will be available for people or families hoping to sit together.
- No upgrades will be permitted for passengers holding a Basic Economy ticket.
- Passengers in Basic Economy will only be allowed to carry on one personal item that fits under the seat. Passengers will not have access to the overhead bins and will have to pay to check their luggage.
- Basic Economy passengers will be last to board.
- Basic Economy tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable.
In other words, American Airlines Basic Economy tickets are similar to those of a low-cost airline. However, American Airlines says that, once onboard, passengers traveling on Basic Economy fares will have access to cabin features not offered on low-cost airlines. These features include free entertainment and free non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. (See also: United Releases More Details About Basic Economy.)
American Airlines President Robert Isom says about the new Basic Economy fare class, “American Airlines now has something to offer every customer, from those who want simple, low-price travel to those who want an ultra-premium experience via First Class. Importantly, this new fare product also gives American the ability to compete more effectively with the growing number of ultra low-cost carriers.”
American Airlines is expected to announce its 2016 earnings on Jan. 27.