3 Years after Delta BASIC E fares launch, I have purchased my 1st “cheap” restricted ticket!

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I feel kinda dirty – I purchased an E BASIC fare!

I think everyone on the planet knows what BASIC fares are by now since all the major airlines have them. Delta, almost 3 years ago, was the first of the major airlines to launch these “cheap” fares. I say “cheap” because we all should also know these are not a cheaper fare class than what was once there, it is just now the lowest fare with a bunch of restrictions.

I do give Delta credit where credit is due as when it comes to BASIC fares they are the best of the bunch (i.e. the king of the garbage dump in restricted fares).

Now one @RenésPoints follower, when I tweeted the other day about buying my first BASIC fare, asked:

Who are you and what have you done with René?” – @T_Waits_4NoOne

I guess I deserve that as I have warned readers about buying this evil fare class and especially since I have pointed out the “real” meaning the word BASIC stands for:

What BASIC stands for – unofficially?

Well, maybe that is not the official company description of the fare class but it should be. But I have also posted that there can be times it is wise to consider buying this fare even for elites. Why? At Delta we still get:

  • Full points (MQMs & SkyMiles)
  • Medallion boarding perks
  • Delta Amex card boarding perks
  • No bag restrictions like other airlines
  • Same great Delta service

So the big negatives, and why you should avoid this fare, are no upgrades period or seat choices (until check-in). I agree those are major drawbacks and must always be considered before you purchase.

It would cost me more to drive than fly this!

But here is my situation and why I at last, after 3 years, pulled the trigger on this one. I had this flight held as an award ticket for 10,500 SkyMiles (yeah, a strange number per the updated Delta SkyMiles award charts). This was not a bad price considering the one way prices were running around ~$200-300 for a ticket. And since I value my SkyMiles at ~1.5-2 cents each that worked. But then the price dropped (I check prices often – #ProTip) to this very cheap fare you see above in BASIC. Oh, I also had a $50 e-Gift card from my recent new Delta AMEX Platinum Amex card that came with a $100 credit when I purchased anything from Delta. The result is I only paid $14.20 cents of my own money vs. over 10,000 SkyMiles – that is real value.

Is this an upgrade to you? 🙁

So why bite the bullet and buy BASIC? I don’t know about you, but for a 29 minute flight I am more than happy to give up my shot at an “upgrade” to one of the worst possible seats on a CJR200 a.k.a. the “Comfort+®” row of seats!

I moved from C+ to this?

Sure I may end up in the last seat next to the bathroom for this BASIC fare flight but due to weight and balance I have been asked to move to the back any number of times when I was in my upgrade Comfort+® row so…

Who knows, I may get 2 seats exit row???

The only other mega restriction with this fare is no SDC or same day change but again here in my case there are only so many flights a day to South Bend and there is zero chance I will make the flight many many hours earlier. And as for overhead space, on CRJ200’s, there is really none to be had anyway and I have to plane side check anything larger than my laptop bag!

I don’t expect this to be come a habit for me since it took 3 years after the fact to buy my first one of these tickets but they do have their place and I will consider them when the savings and value workout.

You tell me, do you buy Delta BASIC fares or are the restrictions so bad they are just not worth it to you? – René



  1. Say it ain’t so my man. It’s a slippery slope. I think this is the beginning of the end for you. You finally drank the coffee. Next you’ll be saying that an upgrade to a C+ middle seat beats sitting in a “regular” coach seat

  2. Satan’s chariot! I flew one of those weekly MSP to CMH for awhile. Ironically it was the best coffee on any flight I ever had – though i could never get the FA to pour me a second cup – she would dump it down the drain, knowing we would be on approach shortly anyway….

  3. Use BE whenever offered on my usual CRW-ATL r/t. All the seats are awful and my carry-on won’t fit anyway. 4/5 daily flights use a CRJ. I pay up to main cabin for the single mainline daily(717/737/A319).

  4. If you accept the assertion that Basic E fares are pretty much what the old regular E fares were, then Basic E is a way to force medallions to pay, in effect, for the chance at an upgrade to first or C+, select a preferred seat, to have a SDC option, and anything else excluded from Basic E fares. Not so complimentary after all.

  5. Caveat emptor! You have explained this just right. I have not bought one of these but can see when it would make sense. The CRJ200 is an excellent example. The C+ row is a joke. My legs are just as uncomfortable there as in row 13 on the CRJ200. There’s no difference except for the absence of a seat in front of me to recline into my lap.

    These occasions would be rare but I could see them happen. In fact, if I had a flight as short as that (MSP-MSN comes close), I likely would do the same.

    Has your personality changed as a result of purchasing Basic Economy? Yes but the metamorphosis actually began when you renamed your blog. In other words, it’s another step toward protohominid (which I intend as a compliment).

  6. Wow. Never thought you’d play THAT game. Without the DM spend waiver many of us will be playing it. It’s called “Who got the worst seat?”

    I suppose I should look at the bright side – at least it’s a game.

  7. I feel like it is only a matter of time before I see Delta marketing materials that say they have the support of this blog and then a link to this blog post. 😉

  8. @Danny – Not gonna happen ever again (they did link once in the old now non-used official Delta blog).

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