LONDON -- Virgin Atlantic is the latest Delta partner to offer a basic economy fare.

Beginning this spring, the British carrier will sell what it has dubbed Economy Light fares. Like Delta's Basic Economy, Economy Light passengers will pay the lowest available prices, but they won't get a seat assignment until check-in and they'll have to pay for their first checked bag. Virgin Atlantic didn't say how much the first checked bag will cost. It also has not provided a specific date for the rollout of Economy Light fares.

The announcement of Economy Light was part of Virgin Atlantic's broader unveiling Wednesday of branded fares in its economy cabin.

Fliers will also be able to choose Economy Classic and Economy Delight seats. Economy Classic passengers, like those flying on an Economy Light fare, will get 31 inches of pitch (the space between rows). They'll also be able to select their seats for free at any time, a change from Virgin Atlantic's current economy policy of allowing free seat selections only within 24 hours of departure. In addition, they'll also continue to get one free checked bag.

Economy Delight passengers will get 34 inches of pitch and premium boarding.

For all branded economy products, Virgin Atlantic customers will continue to get free meals and drinks, free onboard entertainment and a USB port at their seat.

Virgin Atlantic noted that its new branded fares will align with Delta's economy products Basic Economy, Main Cabin and Comfort Plus.

Virgin Atlantic's announcement comes just two days after another Delta joint venture partner, Aeromexico, unveiled a package of branded fares. Like Virgin Atlantic's Economy Light, the Aeromexico Basic fare matches the offering of Delta's Basic Economy.

Virgin Atlantic flies to 11 U.S. cities and jointly schedules and operates flights between the U.K. and the U.S. with Delta under an antitrust-immune joint venture.


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