ncflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 7:03 pm

Is basic economy/main economy a flawed product in USA?

Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:43 pm

First off I find it amazing that only UA of the big three doesn’t allow a free roller board. It sure figures in my decision who to fly when I have a choice.

Second off I fly Delta a lot out of CLE often CRJ 900. Basic economy. As do my family members. We have a strategy to wait until late to check in and 2/3 of time end up in comfort plus, as full economy pax must pick all the seats. Why would customers pay more for a worse seat, especially in these smaller planes. I really don’t get it, with exception of families.
 
UALFAson
Posts: 1005
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:41 pm

Re: Is basic economy/main economy a flawed product in USA?

Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:16 pm

Like any product in any industry, especially in a segmented service industry like air travel, different people are willing to pay different prices depending on what value a product or service holds to them.

For elite-level frequent flyers, basic economy tickets credit at 0.5 segments per flight instead of 1.0, and you are not eligible for upgrades in addition to not being able to select a seat assignment, obviously.

For me, it depends on factors like the price differential and the length and number of flights. For example, with an advance purchase, regular Y on routes I fly out of BNA on AA can be as little as $30 more than a basic Y, and I find $30 worth of value in receiving my elite-level benefits. But last year when I flew BNA-DTW on DL, basic Y was something like $60 cheaper. It's a 1-hour flight, so I didn't care where I sat, and I don't have elite FF status on DL, so I didn't care about earning credits. I got stuck in a middle seat in the last row of a 717 which doesn't have windows. It was a very claustrophobic way to travel, which I was willing to put up with for 1 hour but would not have liked on, say, a cross-country flight.

In your case, I would propose that you also benefit from flying a non-dominant carrier out of your home airport. I doubt you would have as much luck with Y+ seats if you were flying, say, UA frequently.

I 100% agree with you that UA is less competitive from a consumer standpoint by not offering a free carry-on bag, though when AA started offering that benefit to match DL, a UA exec was quoted in the media as saying they weren't changing because they are happy with the success of the existing basic economy offering.
"We hope you've enjoyed flying with us as much as we've enjoyed taking you for a ride."
 
IAHWorldflyer
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:22 pm

Re: Is basic economy/main economy a flawed product in USA?

Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:52 pm

I recently for the first time did something similar to the OP. I bought a regular discounted Y fare on UA, but this year they have gone to charging for normal seats if they are closer towards the front. When I purchased the ticket about a month out, there was only a single "free" seat left ( a middle), but their Y+ seats were nearly empty. So, I just didn't assign myself a seat. As time went on, all the regular economy seats filled, so 24 hours before when I checked in, I was assigned a Y+ seat. It was a window, and surprisingly, I was able to move myself to a Y+ aisle without any trouble online. Just a way to try to "beat" their system.
 
spacecadet
Posts: 3416
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2001 3:36 am

Re: Is basic economy/main economy a flawed product in USA?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:39 am

Sure, you can get lucky sometimes. Sometimes you won't. Not everyone likes to leave things to chance.
I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
 
ncflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 7:03 pm

Re: Is basic economy/main economy a flawed product in USA?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:54 am

Here’s where there’s a flaw. Airlines are so skilled at pricing. What should happen is comfort economy is priced to fill up in its own merit without giving people freebies. Then people who check in at the last minute like me are stuck in the back of the plane. Recognizing that my story is 100% anecdotal and based on non hub flying— maybe the fare difference between economy, premium economy, basic economy is too high? You’d think airlines would have data to correct this.
 
cledaybuck
Posts: 1487
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:07 pm

Re: Is basic economy/main economy a flawed product in USA?

Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:50 pm

ncflyer wrote:
Here’s where there’s a flaw. Airlines are so skilled at pricing. What should happen is comfort economy is priced to fill up in its own merit without giving people freebies. Then people who check in at the last minute like me are stuck in the back of the plane. Recognizing that my story is 100% anecdotal and based on non hub flying— maybe the fare difference between economy, premium economy, basic economy is too high? You’d think airlines would have data to correct this.

Yes. If you are getting E+ on an E- fare 2/3 of the time, E+ is overpriced.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.

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