Well, this has been on the cards for some time, but it seems British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair (Atlantic Joint Business (AJB) are going to make flying a little less pleasant, with the introduction of Hand Baggage Only fares on North Transatlantic Services.
To quote British Airways:
“Basic/Light fares allow customers the choice to personalise their journey and only pay for the elements they require.”
Basic Economy fares will go live in April 2018, branded as Basic on American Airlines/British Airway/Iberia and Light on Finnair.
So what’s changing? Onboard the plane, the service will remain the same:
- You will get a seat (although I bet some airline execs would love to introduce standing only options, if they could rate a solution safely).
- Hand baggage allowance of one personal item (eg handbag/laptop bag) and on carry-on item (eg wheelie bag).
- You will get In-Flight Entertainment included
- You will get your catering included (and thankfully, that has improved too).
- Headphone and blankets
- Points/Miles as specified by your frequent flyer programme
However its before you get on board where it all changes.
- Seat selection will be charged for before check-in
- Hold baggage will be charged for
- Last Boarding group (except Finnair/Iberia)
- No Systemwide Upgrades (American Airlines)
- No refund except taxes, amendable for a fee
Frequent flyers can avoid some of this pain – with elite benefits applying depending on the airline (with American Airlines being the best, and BA being somewhat the worst)
If you want to avoid this hot mess, and get luggage and a little more flexibility, you’ll need to look for the following fare types;
- American Airlines: Main
- British Airways: Standard
- Finnair: Standard
- Iberia Optima
Check below for the upsell options:
The routes where these fares will be available have not been confirmed as yet, so we’re waiting with baited breath on the routes
Full details at the British Airways Travel Trade site.
With the ongoing trend by newer carriers to charge for everything – legacy carriers are scrambling to respond to try and win back customers with lowers fares and “enhanced choice”.
For the travelling public, it’s going to mean being a lot more careful when booking tickets – ensuring that the passenger get the right features for the right fare.
And that could be a lot more challenging that some might like.
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