Over a year ago we sounded the alarm about Delta Airline’s new ‘Last Class’
It’s an ultra-basic fare below the typical coach class. Delta said it was to compete with low cost carriers Spirit and Allegiant.
But these new fares come with new drawbacks – such as banning any ticket changes (even for a fee), not allowing advance seat assignments, denying free upgrades, etc.
We’ve been closely following this race to the bottom of legacy carriers, incrementally breaking down coach tickets into pieces and creating new streams of monetization. Amenities and services that used to be included in the ticket are now behind a paywall.
and American Airlines
will roll out basic economy fares in 2017. So, you’ll pay more for the same tickets in two months.
Yes, the kicker is this base-bottom class will cost the same as the current economy fare, and their standard economy fare will go up.
Until now, booking Delta’s basic economy Last Class meant no free ticket changes, no advance seat assignments, no upgrades, etc. United matches this, and adding no ticket changes, no upgrades, or Economy Plus seating, no frequent flyer miles, but also no carry-ons!
That’s right, they’re really doubling down. Your normal carry-on bag is prohibited. Instead, you can only bring one ‘personal item’, (United says there’s an exception for elite members, Star Alliance Gold members, and those with United’s co-branded credit card)
How United will enforce the carry-on ban?
Customers of United’s basic last class will be put into boarding group 5, (fittingly, the last class to board), and gate agents will inform those passengers they aren’t entitled to a carry-on.
If these passengers do have a carry-on, they’ll be forced to pay a fee for checking it, unlike other passengers, who can gate-check bags for free.
It’s hard to believe United could out-do Delta’s Last Class basic economy. Now look for all the major carriers to synchronize their ‘economy minus’ classes.
The cliched phrase “race to the bottom” is becoming more and more fitting for multiple airlines, but especially when they’re collaborating and ramming it down your throat while saying it’s an enhancement that customers want.
Yes, people expect something like this when buying Spirit Airline tickets, but not on a legacy carrier.
To think that United’s new CEO said they’re aiming for better customer service. We think United is going in the wrong direction and taking a dive back to the bottom.