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British Airways and its transatlantic joint venture partners (American, Iberia and Finnair) are introducing new ‘Basic’ Economy fares from April 2018.
You can check out what’s included and what isn’t below:
As you can see, the key change is that there will no longer be free checked baggage included for the lowest priced fares. Meals / drinks and a cabin bag will still be included.
American Airlines has published the most detailed information I can find about the changes so far, which should give you a sense of what British Airways will be doing too I imagine:
Boarding: Trans-Atlantic Basic Economy customers, including those originating with a domestic leg, will board in Group 8. Elite customers and eligible AAdvantage® credit card members will continue to receive Priority or preferred boarding even when purchasing this fare.
Carry-on Bags: The carry-on bag allowance for all international Main Cabin fares, including trans-Atlantic Basic Economy, is one personal item and one larger carry-on. This is unchanged from international Main Cabin fares today.
Checked Bags: Regular Main Cabin fares will continue to include one checked bag for free. A new fee will apply for the first checked bag on trans-Atlantic Basic Economy.
Connections: Customers flying on a domestic Basic Economy leg connecting to a trans-Atlantic Basic Economy ticket will travel under the rules of the international ticket, including the carry-on bag allowance.
Inflight experience: Regardless of whether they are traveling on a Basic Economy fare or a regular Main Cabin fare, all Main Cabin customers will have the same experience, including the same free entertainment, soft drinks, snacks and meals offered today.
Seat assignments: Free seat assignments are made automatically when customers check in. Customers flying trans-Atlantic Basic Economy can purchase a seat assignment at any time.
Tickets: Non-refundable. No same-day flight change or same-day standby. However, the tickets are changeable (for a fee), which is different from domestic Basic Economy where changes are not allowed at all.
Upgrades: Not permitted, regardless of elite status level.
These sort of changes are always presented as giving customers more choice, but the test is whether fares will actually be lower than they currently are or not (and whether they stay low).
I don’t usually care much about checked luggage myself (I hate waiting for bags!), but obviously many travellers do. If you can’t live without a suitcase on your travels, allow me to introduce you to Virgin Atlantic and their superb (genuinely) full service fares to America from £269 return.
What do you think about the changes?