Delta was the first airline to offer Basic Economy, and they have five years of experience with it. They haven’t been as draconian as United or American — while they won’t let you have a seat assignment until check-in, you can still bring a full-sized carry on bag onboard with you when buying one of these fares.
They’ve been talking about rolling it out internationally for some time. And now they’ve done it, and it comes with a new restriction.
For tickets purchased December 6 onward, and travel beginning April 10, there will be a first checked bag fee for flights to and from Europe and North Africa on Basic Economy fares.
1st bag fee is $60/50EUR/75CAD
2nd bag fee is $100/85EUR/120CAD
For travel prior to April 10, Basic Economy fares still get first checked bag free. And all other fares do as well, even after April 10. The change applies to Basic Economy only.
On the one hand this is not at all surprising. We’ve known Basic Economy was coming and although Delta hadn’t made clear what that would mean, it seems clear enough that when United and American don’t allow carry on bags on these fares that Delta wouldn’t include a free checked bag.
On the other hand it’s the first time we’ve seen a legacy US airline charge for first checked bag to Europe.
Air France KLM is doing the same thing as of the same dates and Air France’s announcement says that Alitalia, which is part of their anti-trust immunized joint venture across the Atlantic, will as well. So much for purported consumer benefits of allowing airlines to collude on pricing practices.
For Atlanta – Paris, here I’m seeing an extra $120 roundtrip to avoid Basic Economy. A seat assignment restriction may not be enough to get someone to fork over $120. But since a checked bag would cost $120 roundtrip anyway perhaps they figure that’s a buy up bundle they can charge.
As American and United roll out their Basic Economy fares internationally you can expect they’ll follow Delta in short order since they generally believe Delta is smarter than they are.
(HT: One Mile at a Time)