How To Get The Most Out of Airlines Basic Economy Fairs. Some travelers see the restrictions of these “bare fares” as a final assault on all things decent, and others have resigned themselves to harsher skies. But bare fares can be a golden opportunity to travel more often.
To get the most out of less, you need to know your travel pain threshold and adjust your expectations.
American Airlines will let basic economy passengers pick from available seats for free at check-in, or for a fee 48 hours prior before departure. Delta and United will assign seats a check-in. You don’t get to pick.
American will let you travel with a single personal item which must fit under the seat. You will pay the same as everyone else for any checked baggage in advance. If your carry-on bag is too bulky, you will need to check it, in which case you’ll pay standard baggage fees plus a $25 penalty. Elite customers and eligible AAdvantage credit card members can bring one personal item and one roller-bag onboard. They also get a free checked bag.
United has a similar policy to American’s: One small carry on bag and no overhead bin space. This baggage restriction doesn’t apply to MileagePlus Premier members, MileagePlus credit card holders, or Star Alliance Gold members.
Delta’s baggage policy is the same whether you buy an Economy or basic Economy fare. You can bring one small personal item (purse or laptop bag) to fit under the seat, plus a carry-on bag which fits in the overhead bin. Delta doesn’t charge for checking-in your bag at the gate.