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U.S. legacy carriers to compete with no-frills Spirit, Frontier

U.S. airspace is soon going to be dominated by no-frills travel with the launch of below-economy class fares. The legacy carriers in the country such as United Airlines and American Airlines are bracing to provide aggressive competition to popular LCCs like Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines by joining the no-frills ticket market by the end of 2016.

Media reports quoted officials of United Airlines and American Airlines as saying that their respective customers would be offered option for selecting a random basic-economy class seat devoid of various facilities such as no reward miles, no upgrade or no itinerary change after 24 hours of booking. The unbundled airfares are aimed at significantly reducing the cost of air travel for such customers.

According to United Airlines officials the unbundled fares have been specifically designed keeping in view the needs of “the purely price sensitive customer”. Even American Airlines has timed the launch of its stripped down ticket with that of United. However, American Airlines has since past years been often matching the no-frills domestic carriers on competing routes. The officials of American Airlines have therefore said that the move to gain entry to no-frills ticket market absolutely makes sense.

The reports also pointed out that Delta Air Lines has already been offering a basic economy seat to its customers and thus providing stiff competition to the discount carriers. The airline said that is doing quite well on this front. Among others, a basic-fare ticket is also being offered by JetBlue Airways as well.

The move by United Airlines and American Airlines has raised concerns. Frequent flyers have expressed their online outrage saying that the two airlines should be ready to receive a large number of customer complaints because of the new option. Frequent flyers mostly travel in coach or economy class. The new class of fare called “Basic Economy” would be priced lower than economy class, and would be devoid of all other options usually available to coach class customers.

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