Seems like we all need to do a better job of reading the fine print. Why? Well, here’s an example from Southwest. I don’t fly Southwest as often as many people I know do. And I’ve made plenty of mistakes and epic fails when it comes to their rules and regulations. Many of my family members are Southwest devotees, so I’ve started keeping a closer eye on Southwest and their programs. Because, after all, I know I’m going to get all the complaints questions from my cousins if I don’t keep them informed :)
To say Basic Economy fares are frustrating and confusing is an understatement. Regardless of how often you travel, this fare category is something we all need to understand, especially so we don’t book these fares without intentionally meaning to. That’s what happened to my friend. Maybe it’s happened to you too? She’s not blaming the airlines, though. She didn’t quite understand and didn’t pay good attention to what she was booking. But she won’t make that mistake again! In talking to her, I realized it would be a good idea to explain what Basic Economy fares mean and to understand what restrictions are placed on your ticket.
The three legacy airlines all have a Basic Economy category. Delta was the first one to introduce these fares, but now United and American Airlines have them as well. Each of them have their own set of restrictions. In general, though, the restrictions usually mean: NO advance seat selection, NO carry-on baggage allowances (your personal item will have to fit under the seat in front of you), last to board, NO accruing miles for the trip, fares are non-refundable and non-changeable, and other restrictions. Delta’s policy is slightly different on a few of these, so check each airline carefully. The legacy airlines see this as competing with what we might call the Low Cost Carriers such as Southwest and JetBlue. Or competing with the Ultra Low Cost Carriers such as Frontier and Spirit.
Originally Posted in January 2017 – Updated with new data points in September 2017!
If you or someone you know has a Mexican passport or resident card, they might be leaving money on the table when they purchase airline tickets to/from/through Mexico.
When you purchase a plane ticket to Mexico, the fare has a tourism tax built in – similar to US customs and immigration fees. This fee goes toward the cost of immigration processing and the arrival / departure card required for foreign visitors. The fee is 500 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $28 USD. (The fee increased from 390 pesos at some point in 2017). On your ticket receipt you may see this referred to as UK (the IATA code for this tax) or DNR (the Spanish abbreviation).
Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – tax and exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.
Airline policies often baffle me. The carry-on luggage restrictions are mind-boggling, to say the least. There are no standards and each airline sets their own rules. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago. I was in a mall and walked by a House of Samsonite store. Inside the store were signs showing luggage dimensions and weights for a few airlines. I found the signs helpful, but also realized they were obviously incomplete for those of us who travel a lot and use a broad variety of airlines.
Good morning everyone (again). I just saw on the Southwest Airlines homepage that their schedule is now open and bookable through June 1, 2018. Before now, you could only book flights through early April 2018. Now you can book trips for Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13) and Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday, May 26 – Monday, May 28). Prices tend to be higher when the schedule loads, but you can always watch the price and rebook when the price goes down. Check out my post: PSA Reminder: Check Existing Southwest Airlines Reservations; I Rebooked & Saved $66.