The Hidden Way Basic Economy Airfares Mess Up Flights For Everyone

You know those cheap basic economy fares that the major U.S. airlines have rolled out in the last year or two? With them, passengers can opt for lower fares, but in exchange they:

  • can’t take full-size carry-ons on board (only one small personal item that must fit under the seat)
  • can’t use overhead bins
  • can’t cancel or change itineraries
  • can’t upgrade
  • board last
  • don’t earn full credit toward award mileage, and
  • can’t choose their own seats – seats are assigned by airlines at check-in.

I get it that basic economy is kinda supposed to suck for passengers who’ve opted for these frill-free fares. But there’s another aspect to it that also makes it suck – at least a little – for the rest of the economy cabin that didn’t opt for them and is still paying more.

Read the full story on my Forbes site.