brian415
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Re: AA expands basic economy to transatlantic flights

Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:24 am

I want to start a little sub-thread. I am going to call it "GAMING BASIC ECONOMY TICKETS". I have a couple of observations with Basic Economy:

First, you can't use hidden-city ticketing strategies when you fly Basic Economy because you end up being required to check bags (due to the overhead-bins-are-off-limits policy). The impact is that you can't just ditch the onward connection (that you never intended to take) upon arrival at the connecting station. If you did, your luggage could end up at the destination you never intended to go to. (Before the recent deployment of Basic Economy garbage, my sister booked ATL-SFO-YVR with the intention of ditching at SFO, which she did, but there was some drama at ATL because gate agents wanted to check her luggage in the belly, all the way to YVR. Walking down the jet bridge, she tore up the bar code tag, and upon boarding, was questioned by FAs who expected no further bags. Through clever negotiation, she managed to get her bag on board. However, these tactics will work no longer!) Perhaps an overnight itinerary that involves a backpack that fits under the seat may be about the only thing that will actually work under this new regime.

Second, it seems superior to book 2 one-way Basic Economy tickets (instead of a round-trip Basic Economy ticket), assuming that the price is the same or not that different. I say this because these tickets are "disposable commodities" and entire ticket becomes worthless in the event that you miss the initial flight or need to make changes to your travel dates. As we all know, ticketing rules cause all subsequent legs of the ticket to be cancelled in the event that any leg of the itinerary is missed. By having separate tickets, you would be protecting the value of the return ticket. You would still be faced with having to buy a walk-up ticket for the initial leg you missed, but the pain will be lessened as your return ticket will still be intact.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: AA expands basic economy to transatlantic flights

Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:30 am

brian415 wrote:
First, you can't use hidden-city ticketing strategies when you fly Basic Economy because you end up being required to check bags (due to the overhead-bins-are-off-limits policy). The impact is that you can't just ditch the onward connection (that you never intended to take) upon arrival at the connecting station. If you did, your luggage could end up at the destination you never intended to go to.


I doubt this as even Norwegian allows full-size hand luggage on basic economy. And even if it's not free, it's usually cheaper to add large hand luggage to a booking than adding checked luggage.

On top of that, at some airports you got connections to ground transport on a flight number. For example KLM runs a bus service from Amsterdam airport to Eindhoven and Maastricht. For these ground connections you have to collect your luggage and take them to the bus yourself. So let's say your final destination is Amsterdam, it might be worth checking if a connection to Eindhoven is cheaper even if you don't intend to actually go to Eindhoven. It's easy to ditch off in Amsterdam.
 
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SQ22
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Gaming basic economy tickets

Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:37 am

I have created a separate thread on that subject. Enjoy your discussion.
 
michman
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Re: Gaming basic economy tickets

Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:18 pm

Delta Basic Economy permits carry-on bags that fit in the overhead bins. The AA and UA policies have lots of exceptions ( for elites and affinity credit card holders). Can't say I have any sympathy for you sister. She shouldn't have booked basic economy if she wanted to play hidden city games.

As far as booking one-way's, many basic economy fares have a roundtrip booking requirement and this won't work (the price will be significantly higher when purchased as two one-ways).
 
ltbewr
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Re: Gaming basic economy tickets

Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:29 pm

Gaming for economy tickets is becoming more difficult due to security and airlines trying to prevent it to keep their profits up.
I would suggest the usual strategies:
Know the timing of when airlines or internet bookers offer the cheapest fares.
Compare not just the fare, but the final costs after taxes, airport and security fees, luggage fees, BOB food, pricing by seat location and pitch, loo fees :D , etc.
Consider using different departure and destination airports but note what your costs and time for transportation to/from your choice of airports. Sure, save $20 on the fare but it costs you $20 or more and 30 minutes or more travel time for a train, bus, taxi or Uber ride to get there and/or back, it may be better to pay a little more on fare.
Be flexible as to when as to time of day or even the day you can go on both flights. Some sites will offer deals if you can be flexible as to date and time of flight so can max the fill out of a flight
Move quickly if an online deal is available ('3 seats left at this price !').
Buy far enough ahead of time if possible.
Consider that a 'legacy' may be more expensive, but you may have far better options if an over-booking, a flight cannot operate due to mx or weather, or certain other issues that a non-legacy cannot offer in terms of putting you on another flight or with another airline. Get stuck for a day and lose a day's pay or create hassles at work may be more than a cheaper fare.
Be flexible as to a using a 1-stop flight if cheaper and time is not critical.

Consider too other ways of savings at your destination using the same tactics as use for airfare savings including internet searches and travel guidebooks. Saving $30 on a car rental for a week, $10-20 a night for a hotel, $5 for dinner or getting a sandwich and drink in a market and having it in a park instead of a restaurant, using public transportation, taking advantage of free or cheap access to entertainment, museums, could save enough to offset a higher fare and maybe have a more enjoyable trip.
 
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XAM2175
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Re: AA expands basic economy to transatlantic flights

Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:21 pm

brian415 wrote:
First, you can't use hidden-city ticketing strategies when you fly Basic Economy because you end up being required to check bags (due to the overhead-bins-are-off-limits policy). The impact is that you can't just ditch the onward connection (that you never intended to take) upon arrival at the connecting station. If you did, your luggage could end up at the destination you never intended to go to. (Before the recent deployment of Basic Economy garbage, my sister booked ATL-SFO-YVR with the intention of ditching at SFO, which she did, but there was some drama at ATL because gate agents wanted to check her luggage in the belly, all the way to YVR. Walking down the jet bridge, she tore up the bar code tag, and upon boarding, was questioned by FAs who expected no further bags. Through clever negotiation, she managed to get her bag on board.


Sorry, I need help with this, having never flown in the US before. I presume that the ticket permits under-seat baggage only, with the option to check bags at an extra charge, yes? Is it that she got to the gate, was advised that the bag was unsuitable for under-seat storage and would have to be checked, accepted this, and then destroyed the baggage tag she'd just been issued while she walked down the airbridge?
 
ryan78
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:29 am

Re: Gaming basic economy tickets

Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:07 pm

I've done hidden city tickets twice, both time's on one way itineraries and both times with a small carry-on. I paid half the price on a YYT-YYZ-BDA booking vs if I just paid for the same YYT-YYZ leg, saved $200. I did it again last year, booked YYZ-YYC-LAX on Westjet, hoped off at YYC, paid $192 one way vs $525 for just the YYZ-YYC. Flying domestic in Canada is absolutely ridiculous... I try not to do it that often as sometimes airlines can catch on, as long as you take a carry-on bag you should be fine, and if flying on a trans-border connections, like the 2 I did, they will check your passport at your point of departure so be sure to have that.

Skiplagged.com has been a huge tool in helping me travel on the cheap, I swear by it but always book with the airlines website, never through a 3rd party.
 
flydude380
Posts: 259
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Gaming basic economy tickets

Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:00 pm

If you wanna play hidden-city ticketing games then:

1. Take a carry-on or courier your belongings

2. Let me check you in :D
 
brian415
Topic Author
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:05 pm

Re: AA expands basic economy to transatlantic flights

Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:35 pm

XAM2175 wrote:
Sorry, I need help with this, having never flown in the US before. I presume that the ticket permits under-seat baggage only, with the option to check bags at an extra charge, yes?

In the U.S., Basic Economy (BE) refers to network carriers (AA / UA / DL) offering an "Economy minus" (E-minus) fare class; these are countermeasures to thwart ULLCs Frontier, Spirit and Allegiant. I like the term E-minus better than BE.

Yes, as you alluded to, one of the onerous restrictions on these tickets on AA / UA is the limitation of carry-on to ONE under-seat personal item (purse, modest-sized backback, etc.) ONLY. This means that you are almost certainly going to be out-of-pocket $25 to check baggage (or, you could choose to buy disposable clothing and toiletries at your destination instead). You could also become a member of their credit card program that waives the fee for the first checked bag. As another poster mentioned, DL is comparatively more generous, as they allow you to use the overhead.

Some other notable restrictions (which are carrier-dependent) include things such as: no assigned seating, no ability to upgrade (on AA / UA), no ticketing/itinerary changes, last to board, mileage that accrues to a meaningless bucket. If you miss your flight for almost any reason, your ENTIRE ticket becomes worthless (including the return legs of your ticket). You would need to buy a new WALK-UP TICKET for both the outbound and return. (Comment: This is far worse than an economy ticket. If you hold an economy ticket, you would at most, pay the fare difference and change fee for the missed leg; but in all likelihood, they will find a way to get you to your destination at moderate or no cost. Unlike BE, your return leg(s) will remain intact, because the integrity of your itinerary remains intact.)

The exception for a missed flight on a BE ticket is a missed hub connection that is not your fault (e.g. weather, delayed flight, etc.) Long lines at the TSA that cause you to miss your initial flight may still be your fault; whether this excuse carries any weight or not depends largely on how sympathetic the gate agent is. Even with a sympathetic agent that agrees to put your name on the standby list, you could quickly fall to the bottom of the list if non BE passengers are later added to the list.

Other non-ULLC network carriers (Alaska and JetBlue) are considering the possibility of introducing BE in 2018.

XAM2175 wrote:
Is it that she got to the gate, was advised that the bag was unsuitable for under-seat storage and would have to be checked, accepted this, and then destroyed the baggage tag she'd just been issued while she walked down the airbridge?

Sorry that my writing was unclear. Let me clarify. My sister's situation happened before BE was introduced. The point I wanted to make was this: "gaming the system" with hidden-city tickets had a much greater chance of success in the era before BE.

In the before-BE era, you could board an AA / UA flight with rolling luggage and have full control of your belongings. This made it possible to ditch at a connecting airport (without completing the journey). Under the BE scheme, you are now compelled to check luggage to your ticket's stated destination, due to the lack of carry-on ability (at least on AA / UA).

Going back to my sister's case (which was again in the before-BE era), the overheads were getting full and my sis' boarding group number was high. The crew wanted to disallow rolling luggage about halfway through the last boarding group. My sis' was willing to gate-check her luggage (since then she would still control luggage upon disembarking at the gate at SFO), but she was unwilling to belly-check it for obvious reasons! When she found out that this was a belly-check with a tag printed YVR (Vancouver), she quietly tore up the tag and proceeded to walk down the air bridge. With a pleasant smile, she negotiated with crew, saying that she had medication was that buried deep in her suitcase that would be time-consuming to retrieve. I believe that this would be disallowed under the BE scheme.
 
brian415
Topic Author
Posts: 202
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Re: Gaming basic economy tickets

Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:12 pm

SQ22 wrote:
I have created a separate thread on that subject. Enjoy your discussion.

Thanks so much, SQ22!
 
RamblinMan
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Re: AA expands basic economy to transatlantic flights

Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:16 pm

brian415 wrote:
First, you can't use hidden-city ticketing strategies when you fly Basic Economy because you end up being required to check bags (due to the overhead-bins-are-off-limits policy).

Depending on how much hidden ticketing saves, it may be worth it to ship your luggage. I've also managed to fly spirit without paid luggage more than once for short trips. This may be a hindrance but it's not an insurmountable obstacle.

brian415 wrote:
Second, it seems superior to book 2 one-way Basic Economy tickets (instead of a round-trip Basic Economy ticket), assuming that the price is the same or not that different.

Been doing this for over a decade.

Basic economy also weirdly make mainline less desirable than regional on routes which have a variety of aircraft, as I don't really care to pick my seat on an E175 but would fear getting stuck in the middle on an A320.

And with overhead space no longer being at a premium since basic economy tickets aren't permitted large carryons, I board last even with a regular economy ticket. Don't care to spend any longer in the cramped interior of the plane than I have to.
 
brian415
Topic Author
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:05 pm

Re: AA expands basic economy to transatlantic flights

Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:18 am

RamblinMan wrote:
brian415 wrote:
Second, it seems superior to book 2 one-way Basic Economy tickets (instead of a round-trip Basic Economy ticket), assuming that the price is the same or not that different.

Been doing this for over a decade.

Basic economy also weirdly make mainline less desirable than regional on routes which have a variety of aircraft, as I don't really care to pick my seat on an E175 but would fear getting stuck in the middle on an A320.

And with overhead space no longer being at a premium since basic economy tickets aren't permitted large carryons, I board last even with a regular economy ticket. Don't care to spend any longer in the cramped interior of the plane than I have to.

Out of curiosity, do you book two one-ways (instead of R/T) on Basic Economy, out of fear that in the event that you miss your outbound flight, it has the consequence of wiping out your entire itinerary? (Comment: I did some research and discovered that AA and DL sell one-way Basic Economy fares; however UA disallows one-way Basic Economy bookings).
 
RamblinMan
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:57 pm

Re: AA expands basic economy to transatlantic flights

Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:58 am

brian415 wrote:
Out of curiosity, do you book two one-ways (instead of R/T) on Basic Economy, out of fear that in the event that you miss your outbound flight, it has the consequence of wiping out your entire itinerary? (Comment: I did some research and discovered that AA and DL sell one-way Basic Economy fares; however UA disallows one-way Basic Economy bookings).


I started doing it before basic economy had even been dreamed of, simply because it allows more flexibility. Used to fly WN a lot, and would take advantage of the ability to make changes by only paying the fare difference. It's much easier to do if you're dealing with one way tickets.

Would definitely do it with these basic economy tickets. Say I want to depart a day earlier and I'm perfectly willing to sacrifice my old ticket and buy a new one to do it. With a roundtrip basic economy I would then lose the return because I didn't take my original departure. With one-ways, I can go ahead and buy a new ticket, and now I even have some insurance for if my flight cancels.

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