a man taking a selfie in an airport

I just hope I stay wrong…

I kicked, and I screamed. When basic economy was announced, it felt like yet another go around of marketing executives thinking that their knack for spin could outwit our collective nose for BS. Basic economy seemed like a way to get people to pay extra for what was once included for free, and while that’s not wrong, it hasn’t exactly proven right either. Right now, I’m eating my words on basic economy, and I hope I continue to…

a city with many buildings and a body of waterGolden Age Of Travel

The fundamental argument against basic economy is that airlines would leave airfare prices where they were, but charge extra for everything which was once included. If that happens, it’s a big giant con. But right now, that’s simply not the case. Basic economy fares today are lower than any airfare we’ve ever seen in history. Taking into account average wage, inflation and all other factors, it’s statistically never been cheaper to fly. I never thought I’d see the day when major legacy airlines such as Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, American, British Airways, Delta would offer transatlantic plane tickets under $300 round trip. They are.

a group of currency bills and coinsRight Now, Basic Is Lower

Today, right this minute, if you wanted to lock in the traditional airline economy experience with bags, seating assignment, meals and more, you could do so at prices bordering the best flight deals ever seen in history. They’re not lower than ever, but they are right on the cusp. If however you can part ways with the checked bag, and seat assignment, you can travel at rates lower than ever before. Legacy airline tickets have never, ever been cheaper. For example, Virgin Atlantic has basic economy fares from London to San Francisco at £280 round trip, and Boston for just £260. They’ve never been that low. Going the other way, American has New York to Paris for $315 round trip.

a row of seats in an airplaneI Want To Stay Wrong

Hear me loud and clear – at this moment, I’m in the wrong about the basic economy proposition. I kicked a fit when Virgin launched “lite” economy, I laid out all the reasons why this was bad for business when American, Delta, United, British Airways and everyone else followed suit. Here’s the thing: I may still be right about basic economy one day. If airfares go up, and basic economy goes back up to the prices once charged for regular economy, we’ve been duped. But for reasons which are hopefully exceedingly obvious, right now I’m in the wrong – and I hope to stay that way.

a man and woman standing next to luggageWin Right Now

With record low fares available, there’s never been a more important time to really learn about savvy travel. You really should learn how to maximize carry on only travel. You’d be amazed what you can pull off, and the savings make it so worthwhile. You should also learn how to play musical chairs with your seat assignment after check in, to possibly secure a whole row. This is the golden age and you just have to embrace it for what it is…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. To make a bit of a sour grapes counterpoint here, while your points are absolutely correct, they apply to cities big enough for an NFL team.

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