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What Basic Economy Means Per Airline

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In the last couple years, several U.S. airlines have rolled out something called “Basic Economy.” The new airline class aims to be more affordable than standard Economy by placing added restrictions on how travelers fly and what they can fly with. Here, our T.F. Green Airport parking company shares what Basic Economy means in the airlines that offer it:

United Airlines

Check-in: Only passengers who qualify for free carry-on bags or who have paid to check their bags (see “Exception” below) are able to check in online. All other Basic Economy passengers must check in at the airport.

Luggage: Passengers are not allowed to bring a carry-on bag with them. Instead, they are allowed to bring a personal item (such as a purse or backpack) that can be a maximum of 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches.

Exception: The passenger is a Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or a Star Alliance Gold member.

Seats: Passengers are not allowed to preselect seating, make changes to their tickets after purchasing them, or upgrade to higher ticket classes. In addition, passengers traveling in a group (including families) will not be able to sit together unless advance seat assignments are purchased and seats are available.

Boarding Group: Basic Economy passengers will be placed in the last boarding group.

Exception: The passenger is a Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or a Star Alliance Gold member.

American Airlines

Check-in: The AA check-in process is the same for passengers in all airline classes.

Luggage: Passengers are not allowed to bring a carry-on bag with them and will be limited to one personal item that measures 18 x 14 x 8 inches or less.

Exception: The passenger is an AAdvantage elite member, a primary cardmember of a qualifying AAdvantage credit card, or is traveling to Europe.

Seats: Basic Economy passengers are not allowed to preselect seating until they check in. If they want to choose a certain seat on the plane, a fee will apply. Otherwise, seats will be assigned to them during check-in. In addition, Basic Economy tickets are non-refundable and are not eligible for an upgrade.

Boarding Group: Basic Economy passengers will be placed in the last boarding group.

Exception: The passenger is an AAdvantage elite member or a primary cardmember of a qualifying AAdvantage credit card.

Delta Air Lines

Check-in: The Delta check-in process is the same for passengers in all airline classes.

Luggage: Unlike United and American Airlines, Delta allows passengers to bring a carry-on item (no larger than 45 combined inches) as well as one personal item.

Seats: Basic Economy passengers are not allowed to preselect seating until they check in. If no seat number appears on the boarding pass, it will be assigned at the gate before boarding. In addition, Basic Economy tickets are non-refundable and are not eligible for changes.

Boarding Group: Basic Economy passengers will be placed in the last boarding group.

Have you flown as a Basic Economy passenger? If so, what was your experience like? Our T.F. Green Airport parking company would love to know!

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