American Airlines offering new discount fare option

The airline started offering the basic economy fares on Tuesday for 10 routes including flights between Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth, according to the report. As of right now, the option is only available for certain flights for both airlines but have said that they plan to roll out more options soon.

Airfare wars are heating up in the U.S., with United Airlines the latest carrier to launch a basic economy fare in response to the low-priced competition.

United is launching its basic economy fares on flights between Minneapolis and its seven hubs: Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Houston Bush Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and Washington Dulles.

Passengers with certain credit cards or elite status in the airline's frequent flier program maintain their early privileges and carry-on allowance even if they purchase a basic economy fare, but for everyone the no-frill fares are "use it or lose it", - non-refundable, non-changeable, even for same-day flight changes or same-day standby status.

Delta Air Lines was the first to introduce basic economy. "Similar to baggage fees and codeshare operations, it is the responsibility of the travel agent or ticket provider to properly disclose the conditions of a Basic Economy fare to the traveler, per United's Booking and Ticketing Policy".

Meant to be United´s lowest fare, Basic Economy fares provide most of the same inflight services and amenities that are available with standard Economy, with a few important restrictions. Until now, travelers who snagged bargain fares got the same amenities as those who paid a higher price.

In a hint of things to come, United Airlines announced the introduction of Basic Economy fares between Minneapolis/St. Paul and seven USA hubs, including Houston, beginning April 18.

American will allow passengers to select a specific seat for a fee. Passengers can only carry on a purse, computer bag or other item that fits underneath the seat. With a few exceptions, they must pay extra to check a wheeled bag that other economy-class travelers can put in the overhead bin.

  • Annette Adams