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Is that the new basic economy class is right for you?

When you fly one of those ultra-discount airlines like Spirit or Frontier, you know that you are not in for a luxury experience, but at least it’s relatively cheap, right?

That is the idea behind Basic Economy seats now offered on American, Delta and United. But is it right for you? For some, not for others; only you know what you need on a plane and what you can live without, but this may help you decide.

Is Basic Economy new?

Delta’s are offering it for about five years, while the Us and United in this year. You won’t find it on every route, but we see a number of long-haul flights.

What have you got to lose?

The big three.

–Seats: in General, you can not choose your own seat. Delta explains, “Passengers traveling together, including families, can’t sit together.”

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–Some of the baggage restrictions: Flying Basic Economy on American or United and can not be a normal size of hand luggage on board the plane, because you have no access to the trunk. It does not mean that you can’t travel with a carry-on, but you need to check it and to pay a bag fee. Delta, however, leave hand luggage in the overhead bins.

–Boarding: Generally, you’ll be the last to board. So even if you were allowed one carry-on, good luck finding space in a bin.

–One bright spot: American, Delta and United let you know very clearly and in the shopping experience exactly what you are getting and exactly what you give.

What remains the same?

Snacks: American, Delta and United still offer free soft drinks and free packs of peanuts, pretzels or cookies they pass out to their cabin-passengers. Frontier and Spirit you have to pay for this.

Is Basic Economy a deal?

That is the big question. It is always the cheapest option offered by airlines that have these chairs, and we have seen rates anywhere between $15 and $30 lower than the ‘regular’ economy.

However, NPR reported last month that at least a number of fundamental economy were the prices the same as what the ordinary economy fares be used, and the regular economy rates have risen in price. Their conclusion (at least in the examples that they looked at) that the Economy travellers sometimes “a lower class of service for the same price”.

That is not always the case, but because we have seen some real Basic Economics covers, but is it worth it in comparison with what you have to give? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

What should price-sensitive shoppers?

Always compare the prices of air tickets. No airline always has the best deal, and that goes for the Spirit, Frontier, or a Basic Economy deal. Sometimes these cheapest seats will be the best deal, but not always. The only way to be sure of getting the best rate is to compare the rates, and, to then add in any bag or food. That is the only way to know if your chair is really a bargain rate or not.

Rick Seaney is an airline travel expert and the co-founder of FareCompare.com an airline ticket comparison shopping website

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