Tips for flying in Basic Economy

Basic economy is the cheapest airline seating option.

Not every airline offers basic economy tickets. If it does, then the service mostly is really basic. Basic economy tickets are cheaper than regular economy tickets and they come with more restrictions. Usually basic economy passengers are not entitled neither to checked baggage, nor inflight meals, seat selections costs extra, etc.

Despite being a separate ticket class, basic economy passengers are not seated separately. They are seated in the same economy section as standard economy passengers. Mostly offered by full service airlines it's another reason why there are fewer and fewer differences between full service and low cost airlines.

Airplane seats - Basic Economy

It might sound like a seating class from hell but it’s not that bad.

Just find out what’s included and come prepared. In fact, this class is great for those who want to save money and are used to travelling light. If you travel with a carry on only, do not mind preparing your own snacks for the flight, and do not really care where do you sit — basic economy is the thing.

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to 600€ compensation Check your compensation

Basic Economy tips

1. Find out what’s included and what’s not

Usually when booking a flight you’ll see what’s included in the price.

But if you don’t, read the airline’s FAQ and baggage policy.

Mostly basic economy passengers are not entitled to checked baggage and inflight meals. In some cases customers have to pay extra for a full-size carry on bag, too. Also seat selection costs extra.

If you require having a checked bag and want to have a proper meal on the plane, then it will cost you extra, and it can be expensive. In this case we suggest you to look for another option. Consider buying a “regular” economy ticket (with luggage and meals included), or check other options. It may also be cheaper to book a “regular” economy ticket with another airline.

Compare prices before booking a flight.

Use travel fare search engines, such as Skyscanner and Momondo, to find cheap flights.

Calculate your flight compensation for free! It takes less than 2 minutes Calculate compensation

2. Do not forget to pack in-flight accessories

Especially if it’s a long haul flight.

Not only seat selection, baggage and meals are not included in the basic fare, but also you may not be provided with any accessories during the flight. Accessories such as a blanket, sleep mask, earplugs and a pillow. In some situations you will get none of them.

So, if you require these things, don’t forget to bring them with you.

Basic economy passengers can use in-flight entertainment system free of charge just like the passengers of other (higher) classes. But note that not all planes have in-flight entertainment system. Usually it is featured on long haul flights.

What to do on a plane if there is no an entertainment system? See our tips here.

Airplane seats in Economy

3. Prepare some snacks or eat at the airport

Meal usually aren't included in the basic economy ticket price.

Not even snacks. And not even drinks.

So, pack some plane-friendly snacks for your flight. Do you need some tips? Read our article about the best healthy snacks to take to the airport and on the plane.

Or, eat at an airport cafe before the flight.

4. Fill up your water bottle

Yep, even water mostly is not included in the basic economy fare.

Get yourself a refillable water bottle, and fill it up once you have gone through the security check.

Remember — you aren’t allowed to take liquids greater than 100 ml through security. All because of airplane carry on luggage restrictions. So that’s why we recommend you to bring an empty bottle and fill up later, after the security check.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the flight.

If you have a long haul flight up-ahead, buy (or, fill up) a large water bottle.

5. Pack light

Travel with just a carry on bag, to save money.

More and more airlines are becoming very strict with their luggage policy. We strongly recommend you to comply with the luggage rules. Because the staff may weight and measure your carry on bag at the gate.

Believe me, you don’t want to end up paying ridiculously high fine for oversized hand luggage.

But how many items are you allowed to take on board? How big your carry on can be?

Some airlines allow their basic economy passengers to take two cabin bags — one standard-size carry on bag and one personal item. However, in some cases customers will have to pay extra even for a single full-size carry on bag. It depends on the airline.

If you are allowed to bring a full-size carry on bag, great!

But make sure to read the rules carefully.

Also, you can book a checked bag at an extra cost, but the baggage fees usually are ridiculous, and the total price of the ticket (including the checked bag) may not be cheap anymore.

Empty airplane

6. Check in early

Check in online as soon as the airline allows.

The sooner you check in for your flight, the less likely you’ll be allocated the middle seat. 

And check your flight status online.

Just to be sure, that your flight isn't delayed today.

Despite being a separate ticket class, basic economy passengers are not seated separately. They are seated in the same economy section as standard economy passengers.

7. Keep valuables with you

Basic economy passengers typically are the last to board the plane.

Which means there may not be room for your carry on bag in the overhead bins by the time you board the plane. If there is no place in the overhead bins, you’ll be asked to check in your carry on at the gate. Don’t worry, in this situation it's free of charge!

Keep all your valuables in your small personal item (if you are allowed one). If not, keep them in a separate pouch and place it at the top of the bag. Also, pack your absolute essentials in that pouch.

If your carry on has to be checked in, just take out the pouch and carry it with you on the plane.

If you carry a laptop with you, you’ll have to take that on board as well.

Woman on an airplane

8. Use a credit card to book a flight

Basic economy tickets are non-refundable.

We suggest you to pay for a basic economy flight with a credit card. Because credit cards usually come with travel protections. Hence you may be protected if something like an illness or injury prevents you from traveling. You may be able to get a refund from your credit card company.

9. You can get a compensation

If there is something wrong with your flight, that is.

If you are flying to or from Europe* and your flight is disrupted (even if you fly basic economy!), then chances are you are entitled to compensation of up to €600 per passenger.

That’s in case your flight is:

It includes all situations when it is the airline’s fault.

Situations such as extreme weather conditions and airport staff strikes are exempt from compensation. These situations are called extraordinary circumstances or something that's out of the airline's control, something that couldn't be avoided.

Remember, that even in these cases you have the right to care.

And if your flight is cancelled, you don't have to accept coupons.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for compensation or not, fill in our claim form, upload your boarding pass or ticket, and we'll take it from there.

1 2 3 steps - how to claim compensation - ENG

10. How to claim compensation?

You can do all on your own.

Contact the airline, fill in all forms, and wait.

Or you can hand it over to us.

When working with us, here is all you will have to do:

  1. Go to this page;
  2. Fill in the details about yourself and your flight;
  3. Upload your boarding pass and passport copy;
  4. Sign the claim online.

And… wait for the money in your bank account.

If we find out that you aren’t eligible for compensation, it will cost you nothing.

To learn more about the topic, you can read EU flight compensation regulation 261/2004 (EC 261). But be prepared that it’s gonna be a long read.

*By Europe and EU we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Airlines that offer Basic Economy tickets

Here is a list of some airlines that offer basic economy fares for select flights.

As you can see, the list includes many full service airlines.

Remember - whenever your flight is delayed, cancelled or you've been denied boarding - you might be entitled to flight compensation. Contact us to get it sorted out right away!