It appears airlines are cramming more people onto their flights and placing the seats closer to each other than ever before. Unsurprisingly, the situation is all too real, and is about to get a whole lot worse. Multiple new class tiers, introduced by Delta Airlines, which includes the “Basic Economy,” clearly prove that airlines are not-so-subtly making money off our discomfort and fear.
William J. McGee, former editor-in-chief of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, supports the common sentiment.
“It’s not your imagination that you’re on a fuller plane than you used to be. We’re looking at rates that we have not seen since the airlines were troop carriers during the Second World War. The airline industry is constantly operating at a ‘breaking point.'”
The Delta Airlines will soon introduce multiple tiers that will essentially segregate the passengers into even more classes than “Executive” and “Coach.” However, what’s truly concerning is the “Basic Economy” class, which will be considered as the scourge and treated as such. The class has neither advanced seat selection nor allows for any itinerary changes, not even if you are willing to fork out extra. So this low-cost option is out of the question for couples or families who want to be assured they’ll sit together when flying.
Since anyone not flying on a Basic Economy ticket has the right to arrange a seating assignment in advance, in all likelihood the passengers traveling on the cheapest tickets will be stuck in the worst seats on the plane. Sure enough, Basic Economy passengers will not only be seated at the end of the plane, they will be seated last of all the passengers. Adding to the insult and inconvenience, changes and cancellations are not possible under any circumstances. So, if an emergency arises and you simply must miss a scheduled flight, you’ll have to forgo the entire cost of the ticket, cautions McGee.
“It’s a new sub-class of service where you have even fewer rights. That is the general direction that the U.S. airline industry is going.”
The low sticker price is sure to attract a lot of bargain shoppers, but the momentary financial relief might not be worth the lack of benefits during the entire length of the flight.
Essentially, Delta Airlines isn’t hoping to up-sell during the flight, but way before. Indirectly scaring people by taking away essential privileges could strongly persuade customers to readily pay higher ticket charges upfront.
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