There is now a lower fare than economy! Air Canada and WestJet are now selling “basic economy” fares that cost even less than economy fares but there is a catch. There are very few features including zero options to change your flight.
Essentially you are getting your seat and that’s about it. According to the CBC, basic fares are widespread in the U.S. but have yet to really take off in Canada. With the increase in low-cost carriers entering the marketplace, the big Canadian airlines will have to offer services that compete.
Air Canada’s and WestJet’s basic economy fair will only be rolled out for domestic flights first, however, WestJet has plans to launch a service called ‘econo lowest’ across its entire network.
So how can the service be so cheap?
When flying economy passengers can change their tickets for a fee. With basic, there will be no refunds, no exchanges, zilch, nadda, nothing.
Additionally, passengers won’t be able to earn Aeroplan miles or WestJet dollars.
Everything will cost an additional fee. Want to choose your seat? There’s a fee for that. Want to bring on a carry on bag that can’t fit under the seat? Tere’s a fee for that. Obviously, it goes without saying that if you have to pay for your carry on, you are going to have to pay for any additional luggage.
Industry experts believe this will actually be a negative for customers who will be lured by low prices only to find out that they really only bought the actual seat.
If you’re interested in the lowest basic fares just realize that they are No-Frills.