Last week, Delta President Glen Hauenstein said during a company investor day in response to a question about the change to basic economy fares: “We’d like to sell less of it rather than more of it.”
Hauenstein said Delta aims to sell only 10% to 20% of its tickets as basic economy fares. “When it gets to be too large of a percentage of our total customer base, we look at how we can work to move that down.”
Frequent flier miles allow customers to earn credits toward free flights. While basic economy fares won’t count toward such miles, customers who buy higher-priced main cabin, Comfort+, first class, Premium Select and Delta One business class fares will continue to accrue that benefit.
For tickets purchased Dec. 9 or later for travel starting next year, Delta also will charge basic economy customers $99 to cancel or change flights within the U.S., to Canada, Mexico, Central and the Caribbean, and $199 on longer international flights. Main cabin fares and other higher fares allow changes without a fee, under a new policy announced last year.
The new basic economy change fee policy is less restrictive than an old policy that prohibited changes to basic economy tickets. But it is more restrictive than the current temporary policy in place through Dec. 31, which allows changes to basic economy tickets without a fee.