MIAMI — American Airlines has formally launched its Basic Economy fare class, set to go for sale from next Friday, February 10 in “select markets”.
Similar to United Airlines, American Airlines passengers traveling in Basic Economy will only be entitled to a carry-on, small enough to fit under their front seats, although elite-level frequent-fliers and holders of American Airlines-branded credit cards will be exempted.
American Airlines’ Basic Economy fare will not allow changes, and flyers under this fare will be among the last to board. Also, members of American’s AAdvantage frequent flyer program will receive no free first class upgrades and elite status qualification is cut in half, though they will earn frequent flyer miles.
American further stated that basic economy customers could expect free entertainment options, refreshments, and economy seats customers in the Main Cabin currently receive.
“Our goal is to make sure that all customers have the opportunity to purchase a ticket on American that works for their specific needs,” American Airlines President Robert Isom said in a statement.
American’s move comes several months after it introduced a new international premium economy product, which features bigger seats with more legroom and enhanced in-flight dining, targeting coach customers willing to pay more for their flight.
The new basic economy fares implemented by American, Delta and United are seen as a response to the rise of the low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers in the USA. Carriers such as Allegiant Air, Frontier and Spirit often offer the lowest ticket prices available, but charge fees for nearly everything else.
American’s basic economy fare brings an offer more in line with that from low-cost carriers, while keeping a competitive base fare.
Isom also admitted that the new basic fare gives American Airlines “the ability to compete more effectively with the growing number of ultra low-cost carriers.”