Atlanta-based Delta is now selling hand baggage only (HBO) fares on many routes linking Europe with the US.

Delta brands its HBO fares as “Basic Economy” and these are valid for flights departing on or after April 10.

However at the time of writing they are only available on the Atlanta route departing the UK.

In a statement to Business Traveller, Delta says it  “currently offers Basic Economy fares on direct flights to a number of US destinations including Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis.  It is looking to extend Basic Economy fares to all routes in the future.”

But a search on the carriers website revealed that Basic Economy were offered ex-UK over indirect routings (in this case via Amsterdam/Paris CDG) with KLM/Air France codeshare services.

Delta operates a joint venture with Air France, Alitalia and KLM and is therefore falling in line with what these three carriers will be offering.

HBO fares are the cheapest rates which all four airlines offer. They are ideal for those who travel light.

If you wish to take checked luggage then you either a) pay more for a regular economy ticket or b) pay an excess fee of US$60 for the first piece and US$100 for the second piece of luggage.  These charges apply per transatlantic sector.

“Expanding Basic Economy is one more way Delta is providing customers with more choice and control in their travel,” says Tim Mapes, senior VP and chief marketing officer.

“This is a great solution for price-conscious customers flying across the Atlantic who still want the high quality cabin experience Delta has to offer.”

However Delta’s Basic Economy fares come with restrictions (in addition to those applicable to the cheaper economy fares). The main ones are:

  • No advance seat assignment
  • Passengers travelling together (including families) may not be seated together
  • Boarding [by] the last zone