On Wednesday, American Airlines announced that it will soon offer a cheap-as-hell “basic economy” package for its flights. The catch—because there’s always a catch when it comes to flying—is that these passengers won’t be able to use the overhead bins while flying.
Outside of checked baggage, which will still incur a regular fee, “basic economy” fliers—let’s call them “basics” for short—will only be allowed to bring one personal item on board with them, and it’ll have to fit under the seat. “No overhead bin luggage may be brought on board,” the airline’s press release notes pointedly. If your bag doesn’t fit, you’re looking at a $25 checked bag fee plus another $25 for checking it at the gate. Presumably, even if there’s space for your bags, you won’t get the privilege of putting them overhead.
Here’s how basics compares to normal passengers:
As if the overhead bin discrimination wasn’t bad enough, Basics will also be forced to board the plane last, and won’t get their seat assignments until check-in. And as for whether the price differential will be worth the pain, American described the price as a vague “lowest available.”
Of course, American Airlines isn’t the only company trying to squeeze the life and baggage out of its customers. United Airlines announced a similar program back in December, with similar rules about overhead baggage.
When asked for comment about the draconian new rules, a spokesperson for American Airlines simply sent us back a statement regurgitating the language of the company’s press release. Welcome to the future, everyone.