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I’m Flying on a Basic Economy Ticket with Delta

by joeheg

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be flying on the first leg of a basic economy ticket I booked with Delta. I put a lot of thought into whether this was a good idea or not. I even wrote about how I made this decision. Here’s what I said at the time when I booked the ticket:

Unlike as it is with United, you ARE permitted to bring a roll-aboard carry on bag with a Basic Economy fare. Another difference is that you can pick your seat; just not until you are checking in for your flight (something that you can do 24 hours ahead of time) I did a little searching and figured out the types of planes we would be flying. I found out that  both of our flights between Orlando and Atlanta will be on Airbus A321 aircraft (we just flew one of these planes on the same route and even a middle seat would be comfortable for the hour flight). The flights between Atlanta and Chattanooga would be on a 717-200 which has 3-2 seating (three seats on one side of the aisle and two seats on the other) one way and a CRJ-900 with 2-2 seating on the other. So we’d only have a one in five chance of a middle seat on the one plane, and the other jet doesn’t have any middle seats (by the way, I strongly recommend getting to know the website SeatGuru. It gives seating plans of all the airlines and helps you pick seats based on other passengers comments).

With us being able to bring our carry on bags with us and acceptable (albeit limited) choice of our seats, I went ahead and booked the Basic Economy flights on Delta. I’ll see how it goes and let you know whether it was worth it or not.

I’m less than 12 hours from the flight as I write this post. Do I still think I made a wise decision?  

With Basic Economy, you will not receive a seat assignment until after check-in or at the gate.

I wonder what you think this means?  I mistakenly assumed that this meant I would be able to receive a seat assignment at check in. Right at the 24 hour mark before my flight I opened the Delta app on my phone.  I was able to get to the “select seat” tab

Middle seats

Look at all those middle seats I had to choose from!!!!

This wasn’t the seat selection I hoped for but at least I figured I could pick seats one behind another for Sharon and I. Maybe someone would want to switch, like we often do when we book the window and aisle and possibly we could sit next to each other. One can dream, can’t one? Imagine my surprise when I got this message when I tried to select two lousy middle seats.

Photo Aug 24, 12 18 52 AM

The seats are still available and have been all day. This error message is a glitch in the Delta app. When I tried to select seats from a web browser, I received this message:

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 12.24.06 AM

No denying the message there. You booked a cheap seat. You will be told where to sit when you get through security and look at the TV screen at the gate. Ouch. So when Delta says “after check-in or at the gate”, this is totally at THEIR discretion. Even with a plane filled with center seats, I still can’t pick the middle seats that I want.

For the connecting flight, they’ve already assigned us our two middle seats. I feel so fortunate they’re one behind another. And for kicks, they took the liberty to give one of us the seat in front of the exit row. You know, the one that doesn’t recline.

Fortunately, I’ll be able to avoid the other joys of a basic economy ticket on Delta because I have a Gold Skymiles Business American Express card. Having the card gives me one free checked bag each (that we’re not having to use this trip) and earlier boarding.

Even though I’m missing out on all of the excitement that would be possible by booking a basic economy ticket (last one to board the plane, etc.), I wish I had written down the amount I saved by booking this instead of getting a regular economy seat that allowed me to pick a seat. I’m not sure if four flights of middle seats for the two of us is worth the money I saved.

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