Basic Economy limits carry-on items to one; baggage fees add up quickly

By  | 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Ah, the friendly skies: long lines, body scans, and overbooked flights. Airlines like United and American have added the option to fly Basic Economy to give stressed passengers more choices and a cheaper option to travel.

While it's supposed to be the cheapest fare, a lot of people who aren't aware of the Basic Economy guidelines and are getting hit with unexpected baggage fees.

"I think they should have a new name for it, and I'm not sure what that would be, but basic is-- it's not even basic," said Jett Wolfe, who flew back home to the Springfield area on Wednesday.

Wolfe and her husband bought their luggage specifically to carry it on the plane, but that didn't happen.

"I found out when we got to the airport that I couldn't carry it on; that I could only carry my backpack on," said Wolfe.

Luckily they found out before they got to the gate that their Basic Economy ticket meant they could only carry-on one personal item such as a purse, a backpack, or a briefcase.

Had they brought their small suitcases to board the plane, they would have had to pay the $25 baggage fee to check it and a $25 gate service fee.

They're not the only ones surprised by the guidelines. "I couldn't believe it. I was totally shocked. I hadn't flown in awhile, so I was totally taken off guard," said Michelle Mueller.

Mueller improvised when she discovered she could only take only one personal item onboard. "I just went ahead and stuffed my purse stuff in here; you know what I mean," she said showing how she dumped her purse in a bigger carry-on.

The confusion sets in when people are shopping for the lowest fare and mistake Basic Economy for Standard Economy.

When passengers are unexpectedly forced to pay even more cash than they planned, they feel as if the deal was not much of a bargain.

"You just feel like oh here's another charge of my credit card and another charge and another charge," said Wolfe.

Read the original version of this article at