Booking Basic Economy Made Too Much Sense For Me Not To
We are going to talk about those dirty little words, basic economy. They carry the same disdain from travelers that words like Spirit and Frontier do. They are words that leave frequent flyers quivering in fear of that last row middle seat. Okay, so maybe I am being overly dramatic but I have avoided basic economy for as long as possible. But, it finally got to the point that booking basic economy made too much sense and I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I will share why it made sense to me and when it may, or may not, make sense for you.
Basic Economy Yellow Tape
Here are the rules that are unique to basic economy when flying Delta. In Basic Economy you’ll experience:
- Complimentary carry-on bag. Overhead bin space may be limited, so your carry-on bag may be gate checked free of charge
- Checked bag fee applies depending on the route. Please visit our Baggage and Travel Fees page for details
- Seat assigned after check-in
- Ticket changes or upgrades are not allowed*
- Ticket changes or refunds not allowed after the Risk-Free Cancellation period. Basic Economy travelers are not eligible for paid or complimentary access or upgrades to premium seats, including to Delta Comfort+® or Preferred Seats.
Here are the rules for the new cancellation and waiver rules as well:
For Delta tickets purchased in 2021 (after the expiration of our Peace-of-Mind Purchasing waiver for all travel purchased through March 30, 2021), we’ve eliminated change fees and Award redeposit fees permanently for Delta tickets purchased for travel originating from North America to anywhere in the world (excluding Basic Economy fares).
Upcoming Delta Flight
I shared over the weekend how I was able to change my Delta flight for free with their recent rule changes. The process was quick and easy and completely done on Delta’s site. While I was picking out my new flight I ended up going with basic economy instead of main cabin. Even though the flight I was changing was a main cabin booking the new flight in basic economy made too much sense for a few reasons.
The first, and probably most important, reason was the price. My new flight had a price difference of $70 between main cabin and basic economy. That was on top of the $50 I needed to already pay in fare difference between my flights. I wasn’t too excited about forking over $120 more to make my changes so basic economy was looking like the best option. Price wasn’t the only reason but it was the biggest one in my decision process.
The flight is only a little over two hours and it is direct. For a short direct flight I think basic economy can make a lot of sense. If you are not on the plane very long what does it really matter?
Blocked Middle Seat
This was probably the second biggest part of my decision making process. Since Delta is still blocking middle seats I know I wouldn’t get stuck in one as lowly basic economy flyer. I don’t really care if I get aisle or window, both are a win in my book, and this guaranteed I would get one of those two. No point in paying more if you are going to get it anyway.
Flight Is Fast Approaching
I already had to change the flight once because of an unexpected move by my parents. And with the departure date fast approaching there is a very minimal chance I would need to change it again. In the future basic economy will be exempt from the free changes so that is something to be aware of. I didn’t think that would play a role in my decision making process this time around.
Still Earn Elite Credits
The really cool thing about basic economy, at least with Delta, is I will still earn Skymiles and MQMs like I would for a main cabin ticket (lower left in the picture above). I am shooting for low tier Delta status this year with my rollover from 2020. With a mix of credit cards and flights I hope to get there and knowing that this flight would count helps out in that goal.
When It Doesn’t Make Sense To Book Basic Economy
This worked out perfectly for my situation but there are times when it won’t make sense for sure:
- When middle seats are not blocked and choosing a seat (especially during Covid) makes a big difference to you.
- If you already have status booking basic economy eliminates all of the perks you would have received in main cabin like upgrades etc.
- If your travel plans are not 100% solid then I would stay away because the free changes will not apply in the future to basic economy bookings. This is best suited for last minute flights etc.
- If the price difference isn’t substantial enough to make it worth it.
Booking basic economy doesn’t always have to be a bad thing and it can make a lot of sense in certain circumstances. For my upcoming flight it was a perfect fit. When considering Delta guaranteeing me a good seat, the cost savings and the flight duration I really had no other choice but to grab it.
Basic economy will not always be the best choice though and there are things to consider for sure. If your travel plans are not firm or if you already have airline status you may want to avoid it. And, to be honest, that is exactly how they get you with loyalty programs.
What about you? Have you ever booked basic economy? Would you do it again?