Shout it from the rooftops, airfare is lower than ever before. $399 to Asia, $299 to Europe, it’s all par for the course. But many of the deals come with restrictions. Discount airlines have swept into the market, offering headline fares with below the fold benefits. Since “price” is king, major airlines are now playing the same game, diluting the airline marketplace.

The Who

Delta, Air France, Alitalia and KLM, respected members of the SkyTeam airline alliance will now begin charging for checked bags. Any tickets purchased from now on, for travel after April 10th will incur a checked bag fee, if booking basic economy.

The What

Basic economy is the big “what” here. Many flight search sites do not accurately display which “great” deals are “basic economy”. Basic economy fares are designed to compete with discount airlines like WOW, Norwegian and LEVEL. These fares unbundle the traditional airline experience, charging for seat assignments, checked bags and meals.

Traditionally, mainstream airlines have stayed above the fray, continuing to offer full service amenities – but effective April 10th, they no longer will. Checked bags will require payment of $60 each way. Essentially, the airlines no longer wish to offer a better product at a similar price – they just want to offer the same price and give less.

The When

This policy applies to tickets booked after December 6th 2017, for travel commencing after April 10th 2018. Once the new policy is in effect, passengers will be forced to either “pay up” to the standard economy fares, or pay to check a bag – if one is needed. This is even further reason to invest in a great carry on.

The Where

This policy will apply to all flights to and from Europe and North Africa, namely from the United States. For many travelers – it’s hard to imagine a week in Paris without at least one checked bag. For that privilege, passengers can now expect to pay an additional $120 round trip. Without a doubt, other airlines will be considering a very similar policy. We’ll monitor this space and keep you up to date.

The Why

Delivering more for less is not a call legacy airlines are choosing to answer. Price is the new king, and unless an airline can offer the lowest headline price, they lose out on marketshare. These moves are not passenger friendly, but represent an inevitability in the industry. Things may truly remain cheaper than ever – so long as you don’t need anything other than a seat. And if you care which seat- you’ll have to pay.

How do you feel about these changes?

HT: ViewFromTheWing