Delta was one of the first airlines to offer basic economy tickets, back in 2013. Originally the ticket class was supposed to allow Delta to compete against low cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier by offering a no-frills, extremely restrictive ticket.
Eventually, every airline started to offer a ticket class with more restrictions and less flexibility. Airlines have made tweaks here and there but as things stand now, Delta Airlines sells one of the most restrictive basic economy tickets out there.
Here’s what to expect when buying the cheapest ticket Delta has to offer:
With Basic Economy please remember refunds and upgrades are not available at any time. Basic Economy is best for those traveling by themselves with firm travel plans. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the restrictions so you know if Basic Economy is right for you.
- No seat(s) assigned until after check-in, not together
- No changes allowed*
- Cancelable for partial eCredit
- Last to board & not eligible for upgrades
- No miles earned; no credit toward SkyMiles Medallion Status
Delta makes sure you know you won’t get an assigned seat until after check-in. That’s exactly what we experienced the one time we’ve flown in Delta basic economy.
Call me a glutton for punishment or just plain cheap, but I booked another Delta basic economy ticket for a flight to Atlanta. I was traveling solo for a quick weekend and the price difference was enough to make me accept the restrictions.
I pulled up the Delta app just to make sure I hadn’t been logged out during an iOS upgrade. When I opened the app, I checked my flight.
While I was still 23 hours from check-in, the “Purchase Seat” tab was activated. Out of curiosity, I tapped the button.
There are 30 open seats on the flight. However, most of them are in first class or Comfort+ seats which are unattainable for an upgrade from my Basic Economy fare.
However, at the back of the plane, there are several available seats. 10 middle seats and one window to be exact. I took that to mean that I had more than a 90% chance of getting a middle seat on this flight.
I clicked on the single window seat and found that Delta would let me purchase it for $14.
Yes, I only have 44 SkyMiles in my account. I view that as an accomplishment. 🙂
I paid $14 for the seat at the back of the plane. Since I have Delta as my airline of choice on my AMEX Platinum Card, I’ll get the money back as part of the Airline Fee Reimbursement.
What was most surprising to me was that I was offered a seat assignment when booking a Basic Economy fare. Everything on Delta’s website and past experiences indicated that I wouldn’t get a seat assignment until at the gate. I’ve never had the option to pick a seat, even for a price.
We rarely book Basic Economy fares so I don’t know if this happens regularly or if Delta is testing out selling seat assignments, even if all you get to pick is from are the worst seats on the plane.
Does anyone else have experience being offered seat selection on a Delta Basic Economy ticket?
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