Please sign in to post.

Basic Economy

We have flown Basic Economy many times to Europe on United, Delta and American (and partner airlines). We have been able to get seats we want and have had great fares.

For 2022, Basic Economy rules seem very restrictive. No changes, change for a fee. And it’s all very confusing this year. For example, Air Canada says no changes, no cancellations, but on their “Covid” page it says you can change one time for a fee, although it doesn’t say you can change to an airline partner.

Is anyone else confused by all the new rules? Paying up for Premium? Avoiding certain airlines to have more flexibility in the future if need be?

We are starting to think about not going at all this summer. 🙁

Posted by
21074 posts

I simply stick with regular economy (not Basic Economy); I don't want to be the one stuck in a middle seat and I always have a bag to check. You can still have a problem, in some cases, in selecting your seat on a partner airline, even with a regular economy ticket, but I have always been able to get an aisle seat so far. I'm short and don't feel the need to pay for premium-economy seating. (I do covet the lie-flat seats in business class, I confess.)

It would be really frustrating to find inconsistent information about the cancellation/refund rules on an airline website. Maybe you could get clarification via chat? I've booked several outbound seats for this year, but I'm using frequent-flier miles, and I found the rules stated very clearly on the United website.

Posted by
5177 posts

My question for you is how much is the cost difference between basic economy and economy and is that amount a deal breaker for you? Is it the the cost or the lack of flexibility that is worrying you?

Posted by
659 posts

Thanks acraven! I am going to use some miles as well — we have five tickets to book. I’m anxious to hear about your trips! I always get such good ideas and insight from your posts.

Carol, I guess it’s price mostly. We are taking our three adult children (20s) this trip for a college graduation and a 30th birthday. I “shop” differently when it’s for five 😉 That said, I want to be able to cancel or postpone this trip if things go off course for any reason.

Posted by
5177 posts

Calimom I understand about the price when you are talking about 5 tickets. However, it will be difficult to find both a good price and flexibility unless you are using frequent flyer miles that you can redeposit with a cancellation. I think you will need to compromise on either price or flexibility to find a solution that will work.

From the American Airlines website: "A non-refundable ticket may cost less, but if you need to make changes you'll be charged a change fee and any difference in fare. If you buy a Basic Economy fare, changes are not allowed."

From the United Airlines website: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight/basic-economy.html " Refunds are not allowed except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy. Basic Economy tickets can only be changed if they’re issued by December 31, 2021, for travel commencing by December 31, 2021."

From the Delta Airlines website about Basic Economy: "Ticket Changes and Cancellation: Free within 24 hours of booking. Otherwise, you can pay $99 to cancel a flight within the U.S. or to the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America. Long-haul international flights cost $199 to cancel for a Delta eCredit."

I priced out a few long haul flights from California to Europe. In each case the difference between basic economy and main cabin was around $150/ticket. I think it would be worth it to at least consider main cabin.

If the risks and costs still seem too high, it might be the year to wait. My only concern there is that getting adult children together gets a bit harder and harder as they get older. Do you really want to let this opportunity for a family trip go by?

Posted by
5177 posts

Gail, that was a good catch on KLM
"All our tickets are changeable and refundable if you book before 1 March 2022 for travel until 30 June 2022. Check the conditions."

The prices did seem high to me, even for basic economy with average RT price from LAX to AMS in June at 1410 a person.

Posted by
341 posts

Depending on price, might be worth looking at neighboring airports and see if can buy a cheap ticket to fly out of another location.

Posted by
13555 posts

I just compared RT Houston to Istanbul on Turkish Air (my prefered way to get to Europe)

Refundable or changeable with a $260 Fee the ticket cost $799
Refundable or changeable with no Fee $1,147

So for an extra $348 you can save on the $260 change fee. Huh?

Last year they let me change a flight for free, but I guess their rules have changed.

Posted by
8629 posts

The prices did seem high to me, even for basic economy with average RT price from LAX to AMS in June at 1410 a person.

11,000 miles of travel at less than 13 cents per mile.

The IRS allows 58 cents per mile for business travel and 18 cents per mile for medical travel.

For how far one is traveling that is really not a bad deal.

As for the question posed by OP, one really needs to read the fine print for each class of travel and each airline

Posted by
659 posts

Good information! Thanks all!

The policy at KLM looks too good to be true. My only experience is from fall of 2021 when two KLM flights were cancelled. The process was easy to get a voucher for a credit. The email said it can also be used on Delta or Air France which is wonderful! The issue is that we tried to use the voucher number for Delta earlier this week and Delta said their system doesn't recognize
the number. When we call KLM or text or message or tweet, we get no answer.