Have you ever wondered what the difference between basic economy and economy is when booking flights? 

Basic economy was born after an influx of low-cost carriers such as Spirit and Frontier Airlines launched. It was a way to compete, offering their airline’s services at a lower price point. 

Related: JetBlue Airlines Implements Changes To Basic Economy Tickets

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What’s the difference though?

With basic economy, you pay a lower ticket price than economy, but that means you’ll also have to pay extra for services that would otherwise be complementary. Some airlines even charge for snacks and to choose your seat on the plane with a basic economy ticket. 

Booking a basic economy ticket may seem cheaper at first, but once you add in all of the additional fees, is it really worth it?

Basic economy’s lack of flexibility

When booking basic economy tickets, you may have to forego the ability to make changes to your ticket. There is usually a 24-hour grace period, but after that, you’re on your own. While airlines have relaxed their cancellation policies since the pandemic, basic economy tickets are usually not included. 

If you’re not 100% sure about a trip, then it’s best to not book basic economy because it will cost more to change or cancel your flight. 

Carry-on bag restrictions

Opting to take a carry-on bag instead of checking one is a great option and avoids frustrating situations at the airport like lost or delayed baggage. 

Taking a carry-on bag on a basic economy flight is tricky as most airlines only allow a complimentary carry-on if it can fit under the seat. If it’s anything bigger that requires going in the overhead bin, you’ll most likely have to pay extra, especially when flying with United. 

You may not be able to earn miles

If you’re flying basic economy with American Airlines, you’ll still be able to earn loyalty points, but that doesn’t apply to every airline. Delta Air Lines, for example, does not allow SkyMiles members to earn miles toward elite status when they book a basic economy flight. 

While a basic economy ticket may seem cheaper at first, travelers should consider the extra costs they may incur as well as how it would affect their loyalty status.

Related: Hong Kong To Give Away 500,000 Plane Tickets To Tourists