Last week, American Airlines announced it will offer low-budget fares that limit passengers to one carry-on item to be stowed under the seat in front of them (i.e. not in the overhead bins). Following in the flight path of United, which recently introduced a similar fare, American is trying to compete with companies like Spirit and Southwest Airlines offering budget flights.
Flyers with the Basic Economy fare will still be allowed one "personal item," which must fit under the seat in front of them. Such bags are usually smaller than the suitcases that go in overhead bins.
American will begin selling the discounted fares on February 10. In addition to being barred from the overhead bins, customers purchasing the cheap tickets will also board the plane last and not be able to choose their seats. They also will not be able to change their tickets, even for the standard exorbitant fee. They will, however, receive the same snacks and entertainment as other customers in the main cabin.
Washington Threatens Regulation
While American insists that they will be lowering fares for such concessions, skeptics view the move differently. Senator Chuck Schumer, who criticized United similarly, called out the airlines for charging for something he says should come standard.
"You don't have to read the tea leaves to see that, when it comes new airlines fees, the future is turbulent," Schumer said. "They continue a relentless march to monetize every atom of the airline, nickel and diming travelers with fee after fee to maximize their profits."
Schumer promised that if the airlines didn't do away with the bin charges voluntarily, he would work to ban the charges through the Federal Aviation Administration and by expanding the airline passenger bill of rights.
What do you think readers? Would you pay less even if it meant not being able to use the overhead bins? Or do you view this as another way for airlines to gorge customers? Let us know in the comments.