Anyone who follows this blog, or any other travel blog for that matter, knows that Basic Economy tickets suck. It doesn’t matter if they are American, Delta or United Basic Economy tickets, they all come with a ton of travel restrictions such as no advance seat assignments, no cabin baggage allowances, no miles accrual and a host of other passenger annoyances such as being the absolute last group to board an aircraft. Anyone who’s anyone with any shred of self-worth knows not to buy one of these fares just to save a few bucks.
But if everyone knows this? How is it that I see so many complaints about Basic Economy fares on social media all the time? Every day, I will see someone share some horror story on Facebook or post a comment on Twitter about how American, Delta or United has misled them into buying a Basic Economy ticket and failed to be transparent about the associated restrictions. Tweets like this show up daily of how people’s vacations have been absolutely ruined because they were forced to check a bag or pay a fee to sit together with their family/friends.
But just exactly how does this happen?? Or better yet, how do people not know what they are buying??
Before I continue, I should admit that I have never purchased a Basic Economy ticket nor have I ever searched for one. When I see a Basic Economy fare, I just keep scrolling. But my inexperience made me wonder if these airlines were intentionally misleading customers. Were these airlines hiding the fact that people were buying Basic Economy tickets? Or were these people just careless, didn’t read or didn’t pay attention to what they were purchasing?
Surely, there was an answer to this and the only way for me to find out was to book a Basic Economy class ticket. Well, make a dummy booking at least. I’m not that brave.
For sake of simplicity, I decided to do some searches with United since they seem to get the most complaints. I did a simple search from Los Angeles to Chicago and these results came up. Basic Economy tickets were priced $20 cheaper than economy class tickets. Seems pretty straight-forward right?
But when I clicked on the Basic Economy fare selection, this window popped up, warning me about the perils of booking a Basic Economy Class fare. It even prompted me to check the box agreeing to the many restrictions.
Once I agreed to the restrictions and continued through the booking process, but before I could purchase the ticket, it warned me AGAIN, that I was booking a very restrictive fare.
I mean, heck, those were a lot of warnings. How do these people not know what they are buying? Are they not reading or do they think they can game the system come travel day, only to be very mistaken.
But wait, what about booking through third-party OTAs (online travel agencies) such as Expedia and CheapOAir? Maybe that’s how people are getting screwed. . . Except, not really. A quick search on Expedia showed two warnings also before purchasing any Basic Economy ticket.
Same with CheapOAir.
And lastly, the only other reason I could think of was that someone else was purchasing their ticket for them. Whether it be a corporate travel planner or even a friend or family member, someone was not paying attention or was trying to screw them over to save a few bucks. In which case, they should be blaming that person that booked the ticket and not American, Delta or United, right?
What are your guys’ thoughts on this? Are Basic Economy tickets too confusing? Or are people just not paying attention? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!