How to Get Away Booking American Airlines Basic Economy and Not Fly Basic
In September, American Airlines followed United Airlines lead in creating a booking class that would compete with Spirit Airlines bare fare. Spirit Airlines growing market share was threatening the big 3 as more and more people are ditching comfort for dollars.
The model of creating a bare-bones flying class has been received as ……deceiving. I know, how shocking. American wanted to copy Spirit Airlines cheap fares but they also copied the shadiness involved.
These flights are usually $49 and are amazing deals. Booking via points with the Sapphire Reserve card and Ultimate Rewards, this fare is an astonishing 3,267 UR Points!
Here is what you can expect when you book a Basic Economy Flight with American
Take notice to that asterisk. This is where you can be exempt from some of the rules if you have status with American, Oneworld, or an American codeshare partner. If you don’t have status and don’t plan on qualifying, you can get similar benefits by opening one of American Airlines credit cards.
The main thing you want is priority boarding. This will remove you from boarding group 9 where your carry-on is limited to a personal item. So as long as you are group 1-8, you can have a normal carry-on.
The largest downside with American’s basic economy is that you cannot pick your seats until 24 hours before check-in. By check-in, all the good seats are gone and the few that are left… and you have the option to pay for moving. Even if you booked with multiple people on your itinerary, your seats may not be seated together. (Spirit will actually sit same booking seats together) Go Spirit!
The cheapest seat move is around $15 (middle seat) and can go up to $50+ for main cabin select.
Unfortunately, you are subject to this even if you have status.
Or you can get a Main Cabin Select Premium Seat for FREE!
How? Get to the airport early if you see the exit row seats available on the American App. Do not pay to move to exit-row. This will cost you roughly $50.
Don’t even try to go to the American counter before TSA.
You want to go to the gate agent. Be nice and kindly ask if you can be moved to Exit Row.
The gate agent has no reason to deny you as they need volunteers who meet the restrictions to sit there anyway.
If you did all the tricks above, you will have a premium seat and be allowed to bring a carry-on with priority boarding.