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A Quick Guide to International Basic Economy Flights

British Airways is in pretty much in the midst of turning itself into a low-cost American airline.

Starting in April, American will be unveiling basic economy on its transatlantic routes (read: North America to Europe). In tandem. British, Finnair, Iberia and Virgin Atlantic will follow suit alongside their North American cousins and introduce basic economy on some of their flights as well.

The main difference between international and domestic basic economy is that the international version will allow carry-on bags, while removing the option to earn miles entirely. Meanwhile, the other soul-defeating aspects of basic economy will still apply. 

Basically, don’t expect free checked bags, seat assignments, miles or any flexibility for itinerary changes. Carry-on bags will still pass muster, and luckily, these airlines will still be providing basic sustenance for those five-, six- hour flights.

Though British, Finnair, and Iberia haven’t really formally announced the exact details of what’s coming with their ow airlines yet, it’s expected that British’s basic economy will look a lot like the basic economy offered on their short-haul, intra-Europe routes. It’s important to note that a bunch of airlines are expected to follow suit, so we’ll update the chart as the details roll in.

Is it insane that I’m starting to feel thrilled these airlines are allowing free carry-on?

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Airline Carry On Bag Checked Bag1 Award Miles Assigned Seats2 Ticket Changes Standby3 Cancellations Upgrades
Air Canada 4 5

American 4 5
British Airways8 9
Finnair
TO BE ANNOUNCED
Iberia
TO BE ANNOUNCED
Virgin Atlantic 9 11 12
WestJet 13 14

American is included on this list because it will be introducing basic economy on international routes.

14 footnotes

  1. Airlines folllow the normal checked bag schedule.
  2. Can you choose for free?
  3. If yes, airlines folllow the normal standby fee schedule.
  4. Available for a fee, presumably according to baggage schedule.
  5. Available in advance for an unknown fee.
  6. Available for a fee, presumably according to baggage schedule.
  7. Available in advance for an unknown fee.
  8. All of these are projected based on existing fares.
  9. Available for an unknown fee.
  10. Available for an unknown fee.
  11. Only earns 25% base miles.
  12. Available for an unknown fee at booking; free seat selection available at check-in.
  13. Follows normal baggage schedule.
  14. Available for a $5-40 fee at booking.





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