American unveils prices, routes for new cheapest fare

If you don't mind giving up using the overhead bins and only finding out your seat assignment at the last minute, has American Airlines got a deal for you.

Tickets can be purchased for travel beginning March 1.

American, the world's biggest airline, said it will eventually add basic-economy fares on other routes.

Customers purchasing tickets for travel between Minneapolis/St. Paul and any of United Airline´s seven U.S. hubs (Chicago O´Hare, Denver, Houston Bush International, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington Dulles) now have an additional fare option to choose from - Basic Economy, the airline said.

A passenger traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina to Orlando, Florida, for example, might choose a Basic Economy fare if traveling light and concerned only about getting from point A to point B.

United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to 339 airports across five continents.

The airline started offering the basic economy fares on Tuesday for 10 routes including flights between Philadelphia and Dallas/Fort Worth, according to the report.

The basic economy fare is American's latest offering targeted at price-conscious travelers, created to compete with ultra-low cost carriers like Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. The price difference between basic economy and the next category up on American appears to be about $40 round trip if the Philadelphia flights are any indication. They will board in the last group, unless they have high-level frequent- flyer status with the carrier. American and United basic economy tickets ban overhead-bin use. American says bags checked at the gate will pay the $25 checked-bag fee plus a $25 gate service fee. Starting today, the airline is now selling Basic Economy fares, which effectively only sell space on an airplane and charge extra for amenities like overhead bin space and seat selection.

"Basic economy fares cater to the traveler where price is 99.99% of the decision-making process and convenience/loyalty are.01%", said Rick Seaney, CEO of Farecompare.

  • Audrey Hill