Even though the vast majority of my flying is in economy, itâ€™s sometimes hard for me to know exactly what economy class isÂ anymore. In the good old days, it reliably meant aÂ seat with enoughÂ legroom, a drink, a snack, and my fair share of space in the cargo hold. But under pressure from ultra-low-cost carriers, U.S. legacy airlines have chipped away at what they offer travelers seated aft of the wing.
That trend took a major jump forward — or, depending on your perspective, backwards — with the introduction of new no-frills “Basic Economyâ€ fares that doÂ the bare minimum to get you from Point A to Point B. Delta announcedÂ the rollout of its Basic Economy in select markets in late 2014, and has expanded it to other routes since then. United unveiledÂ its own basic product late last year. Earlier this week,Â American shared that its own Basic Economy fares will be going on sale in February, starting withÂ ten markets.
Is this new category of barebones fares good news for price-sensitive flyers? Or is it a new circle of hell in the sky? Read on for more onÂ Basic Economy and what it means for you.