American Airlines will begin to roll out basic economy fares on
Europe routes in April, as the carrier steps up efforts to compete with budget airlines
Norwegian Air and Wow Air as well as Delta, which is already selling
transatlantic basic economy tickets.
The product, however, will differ in key ways from American's
domestic and short-haul international basic economy product, which it
introduced last year.
Like the domestic product, American's transatlantic basic economy
fliers will get the lowest available airfare at the time of booking. In
exchange, they'll be last to board and won't be eligible for upgrades.
They'll also pay a fee for their first checked bag,
something the airline does not require of customers flying in regular economy on
transatlantic routes. American has yet to disclose the fee amount; Delta
charges basic economy customers $60 for the first checked bag on transatlantic
In other respects, American will make things easier for
transatlantic basic economy customers compared with customers using the low-end
fare class domestically. The transatlantic passengers will be able to board
with a full-sized carry-on bag for free, plus a bag that fits under the seat. They'll
be allowed to make ticket changes for a fee.
In addition, they'll have the option of purchasing an
assigned seat in advance for an upcharge, rather than having to wait for a seat
assignment at check-in. No advance seat assignments will be available as part
of the ticket price, however.