Bargain-hunting higher flyers might, while planning their next adventures, come across airfares that are so good that they’re too good. Budget airlines like Spirit and Frontier (in)famously offer such cheap prices, but they also inundate their customers with fees in order to generate additional revenue. That’s to be expected, but sometimes you’ll see legacy carriers like American, Delta, and United selling flights at prices comparable to those low-cost rivals. While such deals might look particularly enticing — especially when you consider that these three have better reputations than Spirit — you have to be wary of the catch(es). These discounted tickets, known as basic economy fares, are heavily restricted and can seriously hurt your ability to fly higher. But but but! If you know what you’re getting in to, they can also represent outstanding values.
The most common question I get from THF Consulting clients is: “what’s the difference between economy plus and premium economy? There is none, right?” While the names are quite similar, they’re not interchangeable; in terms of quality, the latter is miles ahead when it comes to the hard product… and in theory, the soft product too. The two nevertheless are better than regular economy, but that’s not always clear on paper. In order to maximize your purchasing power as a traveler/your higher flyer potential, it’s important to be aware of those differences so that you always know what kind of airfare you’re buying.