Please sign in to post.

Basic Economy on transatlantic flights

Anybody done it?

Posted by
21879 posts

What are you asking? Most of the people here do it in econ or the basic economy. The seats are the same. Just didn't perks. For us it is either the premium econ or business class depending on what is available via ff.

Posted by
787 posts

Yes. 5 times. Once for a class I got college credit for. 5 times as a tourist. Or at least I think or assume I bought the cheapest tickets the airline offered.

Posted by
8437 posts

I’ve only ever flown basic economy… 24 + times.

Posted by
2744 posts

I’ve done it ever since my air miles were devalued to the point it made no sense to use them for a business class seat. I look at the flight as a necessary evil and I choose not to pay for upgrades for 10 hours or so when I can use that money to extend my stay for a few more days. Do I miss flying in Business Class? Hell yes! But it comes down to what’s important to you. Paying a few hundred bucks for a little more room is a luxury I choose to avoid. Having a great meal with an exceptional bottle wine is, for me, a better use of my funds.I don’t remember much about my flights, but I sure recall meals and experiences I’ve had.

Posted by
8437 posts

Even in basic economy I always pay to select a seat.

Posted by
729 posts

yes, in the days I was on a strict budget and I didn't care how uncomfortable I got. I would caution that most airlines are selling basic economy as "no refund or changes" these days, so think of buying a "main cabin" fare as extra insurance in case you can't travel and need to change or get an e-credit.

Margaret

Posted by
759 posts

I think a lot of folks are confusing Economy and Basic Economy. Basic Economy is below standard traditional Economy and has not been around that long.

Have I flown it, no. Simply not an option. I have flown traditional economy in the past but not for a good 20 years and back then it would have been closer in terms of space/comfort to some Prem economy seats of today.

Posted by
119 posts

Yes, every time I have made the trip across the Atlantic. However, as noted above some airlines make this non-refundable non-changeable. With today's uncertainty, I have been pricing the main cabin instead for our trip this fall, in case we have to change plans. Alternatively, some European airlines have all refundable tickets right now (Air France for one) - this is probably temporary.

Posted by
4747 posts

I think a lot of folks are confusing Economy and Basic Economy.

Agree. Some people refer to Basic Economy as ”Economy Minus” which I think is a far more accurate name. United has only offered this a couple of years.

I mostly fly United and I have never opted for ”Basic Economy”. I like to check a bag and select my seat in advance. Also, the non-refundable/non-changeable nature of basic economy is also a consideration.

Posted by
1968 posts

Yes, some people above are confusing the relatively recent category 'Basic Economy' with 'Economy' -- you can tell because it didn't exist 20 years ago or 10 years ago so if you say you were on that kind of ticket you are mistaken.

United started offering it in 2017 and Delta in some form in 2012:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_economy_class

I like the :-P nickname Economy Minus, though!

Posted by
6037 posts

I do not believe I have. I fly Delta, and the problem is that if I fly Basic Economy, I am not eligible for upgrades, which usually gets me bumped up to Comfort Plus on International flights, and First Class on Domestic. That, and not being able to choose my seats, and the risk my carry-on will be gate checked; have made me shy away from saving a few bucks.

For reference, I am the size that fits well in Main Cabin (Not too tall or wide) and despite a good number of business trips to Europe, have not flown Business or First (Delta One) to Europe.

Posted by
3378 posts

Absolutely not. Nor have I flown regular economy on any transoceanic flight in this century. I have no interest in that level of discomfort for that many hours. Premium economy is the bare minimum for me for long flights.

However, if the cost is a deal breaker for European travel, then you do what you've got to do.

Posted by
5573 posts

I really value being able to choose my seat, and I usually opt for an economy seat with a little more legroom. I'm okay with the carry-on only aspect, but the thought of ending up in a middle seat keeps me from this category.

Posted by
110 posts

Every time! The only perk I pay for is seat selection because my husband and I travel with our teen daughter. However, she may want to sit away from us at some point soon - haha!

Posted by
8437 posts

Ah, yes, I thought basic economy = economy. I’m not familiar with different names for different levels for different airlines.

Posted by
5697 posts

Did it once in Basic Economy ("Economy-Minus") -- flying United with a United credit card we did get one free checked bag each and the ability to pay for seat selection. The reduction in price from regular Economy isn't enough for me to do it again, particularly since I prefer to use my Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve card for the enhanced insurance benefits. And flights using miles are regular economy, not "basic".

Posted by
3709 posts

I’m checking airfares to Reykjavik (why I don’t know, I already bought my ticket) and on this run basic economy saves about $125 each way, with no checked bag or seat selection. I think a bag can be added for $75 but seat selection cannot be added.

IIRC: basic economy on United domestic won’t even allow a carry on except a purse or similar.

I flew the family to Dulles a couple years ago Delta basic economy. We were all separated and in middle seats, but I had the Delta card then so free bags. Price was $69.

Posted by
927 posts

I don’t fly basic economy because I want to choose my seat. I do fly regular economy. I can handle the no space, cramped, uncomfortable seats of economy, but not if I have to sit in the middle seat with strangers on either side.

Posted by
3709 posts

Note that there’s no point in calling and canceling a basic economy ticket. You waste all this time trying to get through, you have to listen to the 90 second reading of a prepared statement about why they won’t change your flight or give you a voucher, and then they hang up. Better to not waste the time on the outside chance the flight is delayed or canceled and you get a refund.

Posted by
188 posts

"Ah, yes, I thought basic economy = economy. I’m not familiar with different names for different levels for different airlines."

Susan, very understandable. For most airlines "Basic Economy" was a new concept brought in to combat Norwegian on price. Think of Ryan Air on a 10 hr transatlantic flight. Seats the same but you get nothing...every airline is a bit different but basically: no checked bags, no seat selection- you get assigned to a seat at the airport, meaning couples and families will be split up as you get the seat no one wants (some airlines did move to allow seat selection but you have to pay a $$ price with reduces the cheaper rate) a use it or lose it ticket (you ain't changing nothing). On the positive side they do allow you to use the bathroom but that is about it.

At 18 it would have been Rick's seat of choice (good luck trying to get him to do it now).

From United (2019) What is United basic economy? United has two types of economy fares: economy and basic economy. Basic economy provides a lower-priced fare but may place restrictions on seat assignment, boarding, carry-on baggage, upgrades, changes, refunds, elite earning and elite benefits

Posted by
8437 posts

Thank you dplaunderville.
Apropos of nothing, I loved Norwegian Air. Ryan Air, not so much.

Posted by
173 posts

I booked a basic economy seat to Rome in December. I had a flight credit I had to use & the timeframe Im going is the only time I could go, so I opted for basic economy to save some money. I’m flying American. The seats are the exact same as economy, I just had to pay for my seat selection, which came out to $50 total, still cheaper than main cabin. I get a carry on, which is fine as it’s a short trip. As for boarding zone, I’m not concerned. Even if there isn’t any overhead space, they’ll gate check my bag, which is one less hassle I’ll have.

Posted by
3709 posts

Example on the Iceland run RT:

Delta
Basic Economy $497:
No seat selection, last to board, 1 full-sized carry on, checked bag $60 each way

Main Cabin Economy: $644 (+$150)
Free seat selection, no ticket change fee, 1 checked bag

(FYI: Economy Comfort Plus $882, Premium Economy $2899)

Icelandair
Economy Light $620
No changes, small carry on, extra for seat selection or checked bag

Economy Standard $710 (+$90)
Free seat selection, no ticket change fee, 1 checked bag

(FYI: Premium Economy (i.e. Saga Class) $2050)

I don't see that basic economy, with it's dreaded middle seat overnight, makes for a good choice.

Posted by
4402 posts

One thing to note is that with a Delta credit card you do get a free checked bag regardless of the classification of the ticket. But I don't typically check a bag so that perk is not all that valuable.

I flew basic economy twice to Hawaii during the pandemic. It was different, then, because you could change the ticket ( I had to change my first trip 5 times) Also, I always got the seat type I wanted, a couple times even an exit row seat. Never quite figured out why, but I seemed to have some type of priority and tended to be at the top of the list for seat assignment. Never, figured out if it was the Delta AMEX, that I checked in as soon as I could, the fact that I did fly more frequently than many during COVID, or if it was just because I very politely asked as soon as I got to the gate.

Delta has always treated my family very well. Several times in the past, they changed non changeable tickets for me, without a change fee, though I don't think they would now. When my daughter had to move to Hawaii without me, they comped her checked luggage (one bag even over weight) because I had paid with the Delta card and I had planned to travel with her and couldn't because of COVID. When I had to fly to Alabama at the beginning of COVID to drive my medically frail parents home, they boarded me first and isolated me to the extent I couldn't see any other passengers.

For my trip to Europe this fall, I used miles and got economy plus for a reasonable number of miles. We decided that domestically we would pay with dollars and use the miles to go to Europe when seat type matters to us.

Could Delta be better? Do I wish that I didn't have to sit on hold for 7 hours? Do I wish that they would consistently inform me of changes to my itinerary? Yes, but I think in comparison to other airlines they are pretty good to deal with.