As Americans hop online to book flights for this summer’s weddings and weekend getaways, many will have their first encounter with “basic economy,” a new breed of airfare being offered by the three largest U.S. airlines.
Typically $15 to $30 lower than traditional economy, these tickets are designed to allow American, Delta, and United to better compete with ultra-low-cost carriers such as Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc and Spirit Airlines Inc. They target travelers for whom price is more important than convenience, since they carry a pile of additional restrictions—no advance seat assignments, last to board, no changes or upgrades. (And, on United Continental Holdings Inc., no access to overhead bin space.)
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