Tips for flying in Basic Economy

Basic economy is the cheapest airline seating option. Not every airline offers basic economy tickets. But if it does, then the service really is basic. Basic economy tickets are cheaper than regular economy tickets and they come with more restrictions compared to standard economy fares. Usually basic economy passengers are not entitled neither to checked baggage, nor inflight meals. Seat selections costs extra. And there a couple of more restrictions.

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.

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

Just find out what’s included and what’s not, and come prepared. In fact, basic economy class is great for those who want to save money and are used to minimalist travel.

If you travel with a carry on only, do not mind preparing your own snacks, and do not really care where do you sit — basic economy is the thing.

Airplane seats - Basic Economy

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.

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 may not be 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. 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. 

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 in case of flight disruptions

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 does include all situations when flight disruption is the airline’s fault. Situations such as extreme weather conditions and airport staff strikes are exempt from compensation.

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.

Don’t worry, 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. And not an easy one.

*In this case, Europe means all EU Member States and Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), 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!