American Airlines Basic Economy Now on Sale on Ten Routes
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update 1:25pm: While there are still significant issues on many of the routes, Basic Economy on Philadelphia (PHL) to Miami (MIA) is now live. When you select a Basic Economy fare, AA.com will show the following information:
This morning, American Airlines put its newest fare — Basic Economy — on sale for the first time. Effective for flights departing March 1, American Airlines flyers will have to pay more to get carry-on bags, assigned seats and upgrades to get the cheapest fares on the following initial routes:
- Charlotte (CLT) – Orlando (MCO)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Baltimore (BWI)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Tampa (TPA)
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Philadelphia (PHL)
- Miami (MIA) – Tampa (TPA)
- Miami (MIA) – New Orleans (MSY)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – New Orleans (MSY)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Charlotte (CLT)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Miami (MIA)
As becomes quite obvious when mapped, Basic Economy is first being rolled out in DFW and east coast routes that have a significant ultra-low cost carrier (i.e. Spirit and Frontier) presence. The hardest hit airports are three of American Airlines’ hubs: Philadelphia (5 routes), Dallas/Fort Worth (3 routes) and Miami (3 routes).
Basic Economy is supposed to be available to book now, but it seems that American Airlines is having some serious issues with the launch. Currently, all of the routes that we’ve checked on AA.com for Basic Economy are showing as “Not available” or fully refundable in the Main Cabin. Similarly, if you search Google Flights for these routes, you’ll be kicked into a first class fare when attempting to select an economy fare.
Along with today’s launch, we got some additional details about Basic Economy:
- Basic Economy will only be available for nonstop flights between these cities. You won’t be able to book MCO-CLT-PHL as one Basic Economy ticket. However, AA notes “eventually Basic Economy will be available on connecting flights.”
- Basic Economy fares will only be available on AA-operated and AA-marketed flights.
- In addition to being auto-assigned a seat 48 hours before departure, “Basic Economy fares aren’t eligible for … complimentary/discounted Preferred or Main Cabin Extra seats.” That means that AA elite members won’t be able to get these seats even if they’re available.
- For elite members, instead of the standard 500 Elite Qualifying Mile (EQM) minimum for AA flights, Basic Economy fares will earn 250 EQMs for flights under 500 miles.
Once AA gets the technical bugs worked out, this is the beginning of a new, very lucrative period for American Airlines. AA told investors in January that it’s expecting nearly $1 billion in incremental revenue per year from Basic Economy and Premium Economy — the latter of which is expected to launch April 2. Much of this incremental revenue will come from charging more for flights that include features travelers have always received on American Airlines, such as carry-on bags, seat assignments and upgrades for elite members.
Are you planning to book Basic Economy or will you be paying more for a Main Cabin fare?
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.