Travel How to survive basic economy on Delta Air Lines
Act fast: Today’s the last day for Delta’s SkyMiles sale on NYC-Europe flights from 34k RT
Delta’s having a really good SkyMiles sale for flights in and out of New York City airports. How good? Try 5,000 miles for a roundtrip in the U.S., for Main Cabin seats. It’s not just domestic flights that are on sale. You can book flights to a variety of European cities for as low as …The sale ends tonight.
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
If you’re preparing for a trip and notice you’ve booked a basic economy fare on Delta Air Lines, you may have a lot of questions about what this fare allows and how your experience may be different from any previous trips you’ve taken with Delta. This guide aims to answer all of your questions.
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What’s Delta basic economy?
Delta has three types of economy fares:, and . Basic economy provides a lower-priced fare but places restrictions or fees on seat assignment, upgrades, changes and — for some destinations — checked baggage. Also, since early 2022, basic economy flights no longer earn Delta miles. This guide will answer common questions about these restrictions and the basic economy experience on Delta, but be sure to also check out .
Delta welcomes its 1st Airbus A321neo, launches a new era for domestic travel
Delta Air Lines is upgrading the domestic travel experience with the delivery of its first Airbus A321neo jet. The Atlanta-based carrier received its first A321neo, or “new engine option,” from Airbus’ Hamburg production facility on Wednesday. The aircraft, registered N501DA, will take off from the Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW) on Wednesday afternoon and fly to …The Atlanta-based carrier received its first A321neo, or “new engine option,” from Airbus’ Hamburg production facility on Wednesday.
Note that some basic economy restrictions are waived for elites and cardholders of Delta cobranded credit cards. So, if you fall into either of these groups, see the specific section related to your group to see which restrictions are waived for you.
Can I check a bag?
Yes, but it’s going to cost you (). Baggage fees are generally the same for basic economy, economy and Comfort+ passengers on most routes that currently sell basic economy fares. Some notable exceptions are below:
- U.S. and El Salvador, Ecuador, Panama ($30 for basic economy)
- U.S. and South America, excluding Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Guyana ($60 for basic economy)
- U.S. and Canada and Tahiti ($60 for basic economy)
- U.S. and Colombia ($30 for basic economy)
- U.S. and Israel ($60 for basic economy)
- U.S. and Canada and Europe and North Africa ($60 for basic economy)
- Mexico and Europe ($60 for basic economy)
Basic economy flights to the following countries and regions do allow one free checked bag:
One year of earning and burning with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve
As a New York City-based flyer, I’m lucky to have multiple airlines (and airports) at my disposal. Still, even with the privilege of choice, I find myself flying Delta Air Lines more often than any other domestic carrier. That’s why in 2021, I decided to pursue Delta Medallion status for the first time. Initially, I …That’s why in 2021, I decided to pursue Delta Medallion status for the first time.
- Australia and New Zealand
- Southern and West Africa
Can I bring a carry-on?
Yes, you’re always allowed one carry-on bag that’s no larger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches and one personal item such as a purse, briefcase, camera bag or diaper bag. Delta will not count items like jackets, umbrellas, or medical devices as your permitted personal item. Note that because you’ll probably board last (more on that below), overhead bin space may be limited.
Also bear in mind that with new efforts to reduce touchpoints on board, flight attendants can no longer help passengers stow their bags overhead. If overhead space is unavailable, your carry-on bag may be gate-checked. Don worry, though—you won’t have to pay if your bag is gate-checked.
Can I select a seat?
Yes, but it might cost you. From seven days to 24 hours before departure, it’s possible to pay to select seats on itineraries that are fully domestic. Pricing varies by trip and may be purchased leg by leg. If you don’t purchase a seat assignment, Delta will assign you one after check-in.
Earn bonus miles with Delta thanks to these increased welcome offers — just in time for summer vacation
Just in time for upcoming travel planning, the American Express suite of personal Delta cards has introduced limited-time welcome offers of up to 100,000 miles. Delta has a variety of card products for the frequent and infrequent flyer alike — so you’re sure to find a card that fits your travel needs. TPG values Delta …TPG values Delta SkyMiles at 1.57 cents apiece, which means that these increased welcome offers can be worth up to $1,500 at the highest level.
Flying internationally, or don’t want to pay? If non-preferred seats remain at check-in, you’ll get a seat assignment for free. Reports show that you. However, if no non-preferred seats remain, you’ll be assigned a seat shortly before boarding.
Travelers on the same reservation — including families with young children — aren’t guaranteed to be seated together unless they pay to select seats together. You might luck out by checking in exactly 24 hours before departure, but there’s a risk you won’t sit together.
When can I board?
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You’ll board in the last group. Basic economy passengers can’t purchase Priority Boarding.
Can I change my flight?
Within the 24-hour risk-free cancellation period, you can change your flight; however, you will still have to pay any price difference. After 24 hours of purchasing the ticket, you cannot change your flight.
Can I cancel my flight?
No, except for when the ticket is canceled within 24 hours of purchase or the cancellation is involuntary.
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Do I still earn miles?
No. In January 2022, Delta changed its policy to exclude basic economy travelers from earning miles on its Skymiles program. Customers who want to earn Delta miles will have to buy a Main Cabin ticket.
Does having a cobranded credit card help?
Yes, having a cobranded Delta credit card can help you. As a cardholder you’ll get the following benefits even when flying on a basic economy fare:
- First checked bag free (for you and up to eight other passengers traveling with you on the same reservation)
- Priority boarding
Note that you only need to have the card — you don’t have to purchase your ticket with the card. If you’re looking for a card that provides these benefits, consider getting one of the following cards (eligible when flying with Delta):
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card ($0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99 ) (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card ($250 annual fee) (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card ($550 annual fee) (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card ($0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99 ) (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card ($250 annual fee) (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card ($550 annual fee) (see rates and fees)
Does having elite status help?
Yes. When flying on a basic economy fare, Delta Medallion elites and SkyTeam elites receive many of the same benefits they’d get on normal Main Cabin fares:
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- Waived checked baggage fees: always at least one free checked bag, more for some itineraries and for some elite levels
- Priority check-in
- Priority boarding
However, Medallion Members will not receive paid or complimentary upgrades (such as Comfort+ or Preferred Seats) when flying on basic economy fares.
Delta Airlines’ basic economy fares come with restrictions on seat selection and boarding zone, and this type of ticket doesn’t allow for upgrades or a free checked bag. Moreover, with recent policy changes, basic economy flights no longer earn miles.
On the positive side, basic economy passengers can always bring a personal item and carry-on bag, and Delta has made it slightly easier to change or cancel basic economy flights. In other words, if you’re traveling light and willing to sacrifice some comfort to save money, Delta basic economy might make sense.
The Delta basic economy experience. Elite members and cardholders maintain the baggage allowance and boarding zone provided by their elite status or eligible credit card. In particular, having a credit card like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card provides priority boarding and the first bag checked free for up to nine passengers traveling on the same reservation. This means your introductory annual fee for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card will be $0 for your first year of Card Membership. After the first year, your annual fee will be $99, and could quickly pay for itself if you or your travel companions travel frequently with checked baggage.
Delta’s inferior ‘new’ A350s are coming sooner than expected — and to a 3rd route
Delta Air Lines is gearing up to take delivery of some additional Airbus A350s — and they’ll be flying sooner than initially expected. Right now, the airline has 19 of these jets in its fleet, but that number will shortly grow to 28, as Delta adds nine used A350s to its fleet. At the outset, …Right now, the airline has 19 of these jets in its fleet, but that number will shortly grow to 28, as Delta adds nine used A350s to its fleet.
You can also check out our guides to basic economy onand .
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Additional reporting by Benét J.Wilson
Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card, please click here.
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