American & British Airways Are Adding Basic Economy On Transatlantic Flights

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American introduced basic economy early last year — they first rolled it out in 10 markets, and then over the summer they rolled it on virtually all domestic flights. The good news is that basic economy hasn’t worked out quite as well for American and United as they had hoped, as they failed to account for the number of people who would simply book elsewhere when presented with basic economy. Instead they took their customers for granted, and assumed that the only choice customers had was to book basic economy or regular economy, rather than considering them taking their business to Spirit, Southwest, etc.

Today American has announced a pretty significant expansion of basic economy. As of April 1, 2018, transatlantic oneworld airlines (American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia) will begin to offer basic economy fares. This will initially roll out on a limited number of routes, so that they can train their airport and reservations teams to make sure they get things right.

Basic economy on transatlantic flights will work slightly differently than on domestic flights. Here’s a chart that explains the differences and similarities: