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More major airlines to offer new class of travel... below economy!

Last Updated Feb 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm MST

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Summary

NEWS 1130's Mike Lloyd is On the Offbeat, looking at the uber-frugal "last class"

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – They took away your blankets and pillows, your snacks and headphones — what other basic comforts can they cut?

More major airlines are making moves to offer a new class of travel… below economy.

Delta Airlines in the US was the first to offer what it called “basic” economy and United and American have now said they will offer similar service later this year trying to outdo no-frills competitors.

Is there a seat? Yes — and it is inside the passenger cabin — but that’s about all you get.

“I don’t even know how they could do less than economy. I guess maybe you have to clean the plane after you land? That’s about all I can think of,” says one frequent flier in Vancouver, who compares the service to a flying cattle car.

While — thankfully — a seat is still included, you can say goodbye to reserving it, sitting together with your travel partners, upgrades, flying standby, or the ability change or cancel a reservation more than 24 hours after making a booking.

But the uber-frugal “last class” does have its proponents.

“I couldn’t care less [about losing those things]. If it gets me to where I want to go, it’s all good,” says Peter, who often flies out of Abbotsford International rather than YVR to avoid additional fees and expensive parking.

The Economist reports some people suspect Delta and its rivals are making basic economy so unpleasant that people will pay extra to “upgrade” to standard economy — the airline’s website even has a pop-up warning you of all the downsides and requiring you to check a box stating “I agree to the restrictions” before you can make a basic economy reservation.

Time has called the new fare class “worse than any low-fare carrier option.”