I have not minced word when it comes to my feelings about the “evils” of BASIC economy tickets from Delta. They say it is to offer competition to the low cost carriers and still provide the same Delta level of service at a cheap price but when you compare many prices you will still find Delta is higher than the rest. But it is not “all” about price and, as you can see from my comedic description of what B.A.S.I.C. should stand for, you really are giving up a bunch when you buy these cheap tickets.
To me, for a few bucks as an elite, it is just not worth giving up practically everything I value as a Delta medallion member. Even something as simple as choosing your seat goes “out the window” with these cheap fares. But notice you may have a solution during the final pages of checkout, that is, to “buy up” out of the E BASIC fare class to one of the lower standard LUTVX fare classes that do offer what we have grown accustomed to.
But you may be saying it is a simple thing to avoid this fare class by just selecting when booking any fare class above E fare. That is true when booking directly on Delta.com but there can be times, like when looking for a cheap mileage run out of Atlanta (still mostly live btw), that the other search engines default to the lowest price and that is an E class fare. If you book, say on PriceLine, you may have little choice and you may NOT be able to upgrade during checkout and very likely will NOT be able to after booking (Delta even warns you about this fact).
This is why I like using Kayak.com, rather than any kind of OTA (online travel agent – site) that could include an affiliate link for the blog, to search for tickets as when you go to book it just sends you over to Delta and it should give you the option to buy up to a non-E fare class of service. This can be nice for a number of reasons.
Sometimes the amazing routes that I am able to find, piece together and have sent to Delta will kick out or re-price at payment. You can often NOT use the all but broken Delta.com Multi-City tool to book these same flights. Frustrating to say the very least. But if you are buying up during checkout it can be a workaround to the price re-pricing issue as well as getting you out of an E fare I don’t want to be in anyway.
Bottom line is we are fighting for value and Delta is fighting to extract as much value from us. We have to use all the options to level the playing field in our favor including using an OTA if we must (think 1st class tickets). Lastly, before the comments flood in, there are times I am fine with an E fare. Say a short one-way hop even a RT if each flight is just about an hour each. For that short a period of time I can sit anywhere and since holding my Delta AMEX card gets me ZONE 1 boarding, even on an E fare, I will likely still find space for my bag in the overheads. But if any of the flights are closer to 2 hours+ you had better believe I will look for a fare class that gives me all the medallion perks I expect when I choose Delta! – René