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Starting in 2019, you’ll have a cheaper option if you want to spend some time enjoying the sunny beaches of Hawaii. Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it will offer a basic economy option for flights to and from the islands. With low-cost carrier Southwest set to start service to Hawaii in 2019, this move has been expected for some time.
The introduction of the basic economy class is nothing new to frequent flyers. American, Delta and United have all added this new fare class recently. The airlines are marketing the fares as low-cost options for passengers, with tickets normally carrying a slight reduction in price over a regular economy ticket. However, they come with major restrictions for those traveling on the discounted fare.
Hawaiian is following this same model as its legacy counterparts with its new class of service. No ticket changes, no seat assignments prior to check-in and restrictions on earning HawaiianMiles, such as bonuses. Plus, Hawaiian basic economy flyers will board last.
The restrictions for passengers flying basic economy is pretty standard between the airlines. Delta’s basic fare doesn’t allow for ticket changes or your choice of seat. You will also board with the last group. Delta does allow a carry-on for each passenger for free.
American Airlines’ basic economy ticket is pretty much in line with Delta’s, though with a couple of differences. American will allow you to make changes to your ticket if you are willing to fork over cash to make it happen but only for select flights. American will also let you choose your seat — again for an additional fee — 48 hours before departure for domestic flights or when you book your fare if you are hopping the pond to or from Europe.
The basic economy offering from United follows suit with American and Delta. The fare will restrict seating and doesn’t allow for making changes to your ticket. United is more strict about your carry-on, however. United passengers are only allowed one personal item on board, meaning that you will have to pay to check any bags. This limitation is removed if you have MilagePlus status, Star Alliance Gold, or have one of the United credit cards.
All of these fares don’t allow for upgrades of any kind even if you have status with the respective airline. If are trying to gain status one key point to keep in mind is that both AA and United lower the earning rate on these basic fares. American drops the earning rate down to 50% on Elite Qualifying Miles and Segments, though you will still earn award miles and Elite Qualifying Dollars based on the fare price. United follows the same restrictions; 100% on Premier Qualifying Dollars but only 50% on miles and segments. Delta is the winner on the status front with no restrictions on the amount earned with a basic economy ticket.
It’s clear that this new class of service is here to stay, as Hawaiian is one of the last carriers to introduce the fare class. (The only large US carrier yet to do so is Southwest.) For those travelers who pack light and want a discounted fare, it may be a good fit. Just remember to understand all of the restrictions of your ticket before heading off to catch that flight.
Booked yourself a Basic Economy fare? Learn more about what to expect below:
- How to Survive Basic Economy on American Airlines
- How To Survive Basic Economy on Delta Airlines
- How to Survive Basic Economy on United Airlines
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