Perhaps the best part about running your own blog is that your thoughts aren’t severely edited. It’s a good thing today, because I have many thoughts, many of which would likely be edited down to zero at any other publication. Basic economy fares are the great hoodwink in modern air travel, yet they are being touted as a way to make prices even lower. They’re not, and they provide an existential threat to low fares. Here’s why…

Full Service Airlines Want You To Pay More, While They Get To Advertise Low Prices…

Think of basic economy fares like those amazing lease offers you see on cars. They are never quite as advertised; and by the time you actually book one your head is spinning and you’ve paid double. These fares are the airlines “way in” to budget travelers, while duping them at booking when they realize they’ll realistically need to pay far more for the things they need, which they PRESENTLY RECEIVE FOR FREE…

Budget Carriers Have Actually Been Trying To Improve Amenities…

We’ve had a great thing going on recently and according to data, the airlines were loving it too, with most recording record profits in the last two years. This move is doubly, triply bad because budget carriers have actually been trying to make their service as cheerful as it is cheap. They had to. If prices were the same, people would naturally choose United over Spirit for a variety of service reasons. Now it’s impossible to see a difference. The big airlines got GREEDY. Again.

Humiliating Passengers Does No One Any Good…

After every single person has boarded the plane, the airline will now proverbially call “all the cheapskates”, where they’ll proceed to weigh and measure the measly personal item allowed, before sending passengers to the worst seat on the aircraft. With budget carriers the low prices offered a sense of comradery, everyone was in the same boat. On full service carriers these fares simply offer humiliation. This again forces people who need discount fares to pay more for what they presently receive for free…

These Fares Are Not Being Made Clear To Bookers…

Yes, many savvy travelers have heard myself and others rant about the merits of booking direct, and when booking direct some of the issues or fees with basic economy fares are indeed clearly spelled out. Most people don’t read this blog. Most people I meet who aren’t regular travelers book on Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, Kayak, CheapOAir and other online ticketing locations which don’t properly disclose the “great deal” they’re booking. They unknowingly end up needing to completely lose the ticket (since you can’t make changes) when plans change, pay for a carry on, pay for a seating assignment. It’s a mess…