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!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees