The biggest difference between Basic Economy and Regular Economy I’ve seen so far

I know, I know, I complain a lot about Basic Economy.  But that’s just because I think it’s the absolute height of airline executive hubris, absolutely slaughters the customer experience, and is a thinly-veiled way of raising prices.

Basic economy is basically (pun intended) a threat.  Airlines are holding a pleasant somewhat pleasant thoroughly average flight experience hostage and are taunting you by warning how miserable you will be unless you pay up.

I mean sure, airline executives tripped over each other describing how Basic Economy “allows us to offer EVEN LOWER PRICES LOLJK” but it’s all bait and switch: basic economy is not about lower prices, it’s a crap experience with the expressed intent of milking every single penny possible from the poor sods who happen to book a basic economy fare.

I’ve seen some hilariously big price differences between Basic Economy and grownup Economy but the one today takes the cake.

For a regular consumer choosing between American and Spirit, sure this makes sense.  For American’s frequent flyers this is a slap in the face.  It’s pretty much a $745 copay to access the benefits of my frequent flyer status.

Needless to say I’m not booking this flight with American.  I hope something just happened to be broken with their pricing system because that difference is completely stupid.

So yes, this post is mainly to complain, but it’s also a chance for a quick little survey: what’s the biggest difference you’ve seen between a Basic Economy and Regular Economy fare?


  1. Andy,

    This is not an exception, anytime one can login to AA.COM and pick any city pair and you will find such ridiculous fares.
    I am a Dallas resident like yourself and a life time Platinum on AA. In recent times I have flown Spirit a few times, just to avoid such poor treatment from AA.
    I even flew United one time with no status, checked in last minute, and was given exit row seats, because no one paid for them and that was all they had left over…

  2. Pretty useless post without context. Sure – that’s a glaring difference between the two fare categories. But, you don’t mention the dates you are searching, and how far in advance. I’m guessing this is a day-of oneway (e.g. a “walk-up”). So – what were DFW-LAS walk-up coach fares prior to the introduction of basic economy? That’s what determines how much this is a screw-job for elites: the difference between the regular fare prior to BE introduction and the regular fare now; not the difference between basic and regular today.

    If the fare prior to BE introduction was what the BE fare is today – then you can say there is a ~$700 copay to access elite benefits.



  1. ATW: Cruise Staffer Goes Overboard, Marriott Package Breakdown, Basic Economy Craziness & More! - Miles to Memories - […] The biggest difference between Basic Economy and Regular Economy I’ve seen so far – Andy’s Travel Blog […]

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