What is Delta Basic Economy?

What is Delta Basic Economy and why should you care?

What is Delta Basic Economy? + main

I'm continuing this series on Basic Economy and today we will dive in to learn more about the Delta Basic Economy product.

What is Delta Basic Economy?

All major domestic airlines now offer some flavor of Basic Economy on most of their routes. This new product was introduced first by United, then quickly adopted (see: copied) by other airlines. The whole idea is to unpack standard economy fares and offer rock-bottom flight deals to compete with Sprit, Frontier, Norwegian, and WOW airlines.

This means that you are often left paying for any and all amenities you might want such as checked baggage and/or a seat assignment.

Delta Airlines Basic Economy Overview

Delta describes their Basic Economy product as a value-fare option for customers who require less flexibility.

I have to give kudos to Delta, as they have made it easy for passengers to fully understand their Basic Economy product. Unlike all the other mainline carriers, Delta has one standard Basic Economy product across all of their domestic and international routes.

Baggage Restrictions

Just like all of the other airlines, Delta Basic Economy fares do not include any free checked bags.

The carry-on baggage allowance is exactly the same as regular economy.This means you are allowed to bring one full-sized carry-on bag and one personal item for free.

Seat Selection Restrictions

One major drawback to Basic Economy is that you will have to pay an extra fee to choose a seat. Otherwise, complimentary seats will be randomly assigned at check-in.

No Upgrade Eligibility

Basic Economy tickets are not eligible for complimentary, earned, or mileage upgrades. Elite members also miss out on access to complimentary Preferred Seats. As I mentioned on my post about United's Basic Economy product, I would not necessarily count this as a major disadvantage as upgrades rarely clear these days, or cost an excessive amount of miles/cash.

Boarding Group

Basic Economy ticket holders board in the last group. This often means that there is limited overhead bin space for your carry-on bags and you will sometimes have to gate-check them (for free) to your destination. Be sure to remove any fragile or important items if you are required to gate-check your bag.

No Flight Changes or Refunds

Regardless of elite status, changes are not permitted for ticketed Delta Basic Economy fares, including advance and same-day flight changes. Refunds are only allowed if they are made within 24 hours of purchasing and the flight is at least 7-days in the future.

Basic Economy Work Arounds

Now that we've covered the basics, there are a few workarounds that can help you 'hack' the Delta Basic Economy experience for the better. These apply to two specific groups which you may or may not already be a part of:

  • SkyTeam credit holders: If you hold a Delta SkyTeam credit card, the checked baggage benefits with your associated credit card(s) will still apply when traveling in Basic Economy. This is typically a great way to get a free checked bag.
  • SkyTeam elite status members: Elite status benefits for priority check-in, checked bags, and priority boarding apply regardless of ticket type. Keep in mind that Basic Economy tickets are not eligible for upgrades or same-day flight change benefits.

Running into any issues? Have additional questions? Send me a note — chase@usealtitude.com — and I'll happily help you out.

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