When American Airlines first unveiled the details of its new Basic Economy fares — new restrictions on its existing lowest fares — I told you about some of the restrictions that American didn’t.
Customers booking Basic Economy fares are at the bottom of the list to be re-accommodated, even if things goes wrong and it’s American’s fault.
If your flight cancels — whether it’s due to weather (not American’s fault) or a mechanical problem, flight crew availability, or otherwise (American’s fault) — Basic Economy passengers:
- Will only be re-accommodated onto American Airlines flights (no interlining onto another airline)
- Are at the bottom of the list for American’s computers to assign to a new flight. They get the leftovers.
At the time I wrote that I believed Basic Economy customers would only be re-accommodated into Basic Economy. So if Basic Economy inventory wasn’t available, they’d have to wait for another flight even if that meant being stranded for days. American assured me at the time, however, that “basic economy “B” inventory will not need to be available in order to be moved onto another flight.”
It appears that re-assurance wasn’t quite true. There’s a strike at the Barcelona airport “causing long queues and safety concerns.”
American has a travel waiver in place for Barcelona, allowing fee-free rebooking. Most customers are booked into the lowest fare class available on other flights, even if more expensive fare inventory is all that’s available. However American has a restriction in place that Basic Economy customers can only be rebooked in Basic Economy. If Basic Economy isn’t available, no re-accommodation.
In this case American is clear that “if “B” inventory is not available, then an alternate flight must be selected.”
Now, American hasn’t actually extended Basic Economy fares to international markets yet. So this restriction shouldn’t be a big deal. But it shows the processes they’ve put in place as they roll it out much more broadly over the next couple of months.
Basic Economy inventory is required for customers on Basic Economy fares to take advantage of this re-accommodation waiver. If it’s not available, you need to wait it out, go to the airport, see if your flight cancels — and if it doesn’t you’re stuck flying into “long queues and safety concerns.”