JetBlue is hopping on the bandwagon offering basic economy fares over the next few months. For us this is another eyeroll and groan, since we always avoid booking basic economy for our clients.
Basic economy fares are “value fare” options for travelers who require less flexibility. These types of fares are very restrictive and are not ideal (especially for business travelers) since there is ZERO flexibility.
To start, with basic economy fares, you will not receive an advanced seat assignment, so the likelihood of receiving a middle seat is high. And if the airline oversells the flight, guess what? You – without a confirmed seat number - will be the first one ousted from the flight. Super frustrating.
In basic economy you are also not permitted to check a bag. You are restricted to a carry-on only. For an additional fee, you can purchase a checked bag. Not always a deal-breaker for a short trip but annoying nonetheless.
But I think the most frustrating part of basic economy fares is the types of fares do not allow ANY ticket changes or upgrades. This means you cannot change your ticket for any amount of money. Once you book your ticket, your itinerary is etched in stone. And with the nature of business travel, travelers need to be able to change their tickets! Plans change - meetings run over, end early, pop up in a different city, etc. Booking a new ticket last minute could be costly.
Oh, and it's all non-refundable. Not even the usual airline credit.
However, we will concede that there are travelers with instances where basic economy may make sense. If you know your travel will not change, can travel with a carry-on only, and do not care where you sit on the plane – this may be the way to go for you.
But honestly, as a TMC who strives to find our clients the best value and make travel as stress free as possible, we hate these. UNIGLOBE Travel Designers has gone as far as blocking these fares for our clients so they don’t see them through our online booking tool and we don’t quote them unless specifically requested. Basic economy is just another one of those instances where the cheapest option isn’t always the best value.
Written by Angie Markowicz
Angie is a Corporate Travel Consultant at UNIGLOBE Travel Designers within the Entertainment Division. When she’s not providing travel assistance to the world's leading entertainment artists, you can find her spending time with her husband and twin girls and traveling as much as possible.