Passengers travelling in American Airlines’ cheapest class of service will soon be allowed to carry on one piece of baggage in addition to a personal item that can fit under the seat in front of them, USA Today reports.
When AA launched its Basic Economy service in 2017, the fare rules stipulated that passengers could only bring aboard a personal item such as a pocketbook or briefcase. Carry-on bags cost an extra $20.
That structure hasn’t worked out well for the airline or for passengers, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker admitted. “We put this product out with a slightly different model than others had done in the past,” Parker said. “We think the right thing to do is to get in line with the competition.”
“For the price-sensitive customers who are the buyers of this, there is another big airline [Delta] that doesn’t charge for carry-on,” Parker added.
“There are now filters on things like Google search that ask you if you want to bring a carry-on, and if you say yes, the American flights don’t show up nearly as high as they did before because it adds $20 to our fare. Nothing wrong with that. It’s accurate. But when you get yourself in a position in this business where price sensitive customers find themselves with lower fares on truly competitive airlines like that, we have to take that into consideration.”
Some basic economy customers were also angered when they showed up with bags hoping to carry on to a full flight, and then were told they had to pay to check their luggage for a fee plus a $25 surcharge for doing so at the gate.