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BASIC Delta Economy tickets – AVOID at all costs (the scary details are out)!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


basic economy delta fare class

What is this you say? First off, you can look at THIS link to see the list of Delta fare classes. Sorta included in this for some routes is a version of the E-class called BASIC Economy. What is that? I have made up a simple chart for you to help understand at a glance what BASIC stands for:

basic delta seats on the way

Now you get the idea. The link to Delta.com is HERE if you wish to read about the restrictions our mothership is imposing on this ultra discounted “el-Cheap-O” fare class.

delta-com talking about basic economy seats
Funny to put a 1st class ad here 😉

Now I have no real problem with Delta charging a Spirit / Ryan Air low price for a ticket, but it is a shame they are going to impose Spirit / Ryan Air type rules on even loyal medallion flyers. I mean:

  • No upgrades
  • No good coach seats or EC
  • No SDC SDS

At least it appears Delta is allowing for medallion boarding even on this fare class and if you have a Delta GOLD AMEX card with priority boarding or the other Delta cards you can still board before ALL the overhead space is gone!

The REAL warning goes out to those who use travel agents or possibly in-house booking people. There is risk you could be assigned a BASIC fare class and be stuck with these restrictions and not know it till it is too late!

Also another thing to keep in mind is you are going to be the lowest on the list if a flight is oversold. Always know Delta can and does refuse to allow a passenger to fly if there are not enough seats. The have the right to do this and a paid ticket does not guarantee you will fly. It is unlikely a medallion would be the one picked, but know it is possible however remote.

Before I get a flood of comments below, I know some only care about price. That is after all the point of this fare. Plus with Skymiles2015 most of these kinds of passengers are not going to get enough Skymiles ever to buy a ticket anyway even paying a little more. I get that. But for me, paying $5-25 more per round trip to NOT have these restrictions will be a must. I just wish I did not have to as a medallion! – René
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

12 Comments

    • @Steve – look where Spirit flys and you have a shot at seeing them. Expect MORE soon! 🙁

    • @Brian – nice report but the key change to NO upgrades REALLY kills this IMO. Keep BASIC in mind!

  1. They are upgrade eligible. Look on the eligible fare classes for medallion benefits. I flew this class earlier this year. I had to call in to get medallion upgrade requested added to my reservation. But I cleared all my upgrades.

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  3. The only thing worse than this is how bloody hard it is to figure out what kind of fare class you’re on. It’s practically impossible and if they force you to call them, that’s just insulting.

  4. Hi Rene,

    Why are you surprised this affects Medallions, too? Delta gives us great deals on redeeming points, but it’s been my experience that when it comes to cash, Medallion flyers are at least as much “under teh gun” as everyone else.

    After all, we fly more, so if they cut us deals on cash it will really hurt. 🙂

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