Major airlines offering cheaper, basic tickets

American Airlines introducing economy tickets

Major airlines offering cheaper,...

LA CROSSE, Wis. - American Airlines will start offering a new basic-economy ticket at select locations in February, following in the footsteps of other major airlines.

The economy ticket will save you money, but it does come with a cost. Passengers choosing the option can't bring a carry-on or choose their own seats.

Clint Torp, the La Crosse Regional Airport director, said that kind of option is becoming more and more common.

La Crosse Regional Airport offers two carriers: Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Torp said the many of the major airlines are offering an increasing amount of options.

"We're definitely seeing all the airlines offering new innovative products to lure mainly low-cost customers,” Torp said.

Snacks and storage space used to be a given on flights, but now many airlines are foregoing the extras and offering just the seat as a cheaper option.

"We're seeing more base-type fares with add-on charges and services so you're only paying for what you really want to pay for,” Torp said.

American Airlines announced it’s rolling out basic-economy tickets in February, which means a lower price tag, but no free overhead space for luggage, and you can't pick your seat or change flights. You can have a free personal item that fits under your seat or pay to have checked luggage.

"Anytime an airline offers a new product, we look at that as a positive thing,” Torp said.

It's not just American Airlines taking this route. United and Delta offer similar options at select locations, but not all fliers at La Crosse Regional Airport on Wednesday were thrilled about this trend.

"I don't like it,” said Troy Neptune, who was heading to San Diego. “I think they keep cutting back and it's all about price anymore and not service."

"It just feels like you're getting more fees on fees on fees,”  said Tyler Moyer, who was flying to Denver. “I'd rather pay for it upfront and get it over with."

But Torp says there is a customer base for economy tickets.

"You're going to have customers that want certain experience. Then you're also going to (have) customers, all they care about is getting from point A to point B at the cheapest price available,” he said.

"It’s diversifying,” said Milo Pyne, who was traveling home to North Carolina. “There's services at the higher end, and there's services, if you will, at the lower end so I hope they're trying to provide a broader range of options for the traveling public."

American Airlines will expand the basic-economy tickets  to more markets as the year goes on. It has not yet announced the locations.

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