Today’s guest post comes from a different Dan, who is a member of the PWaC miles and points Facebook group as well as user dhammer53 on Flyertalk. He recently took a round trip flight on Delta Basic Economy and wrote in with a trip report. Since Basic Economy fares across all of the major airlines are becoming more prevalent, and I know that many readers are having to decide if the cost savings are worth it, I thought this trip report might be worth it.
Here’s his Delta Basic Economy review
Delta Basic Economy review
I purchased a Delta Basic Economy ticket HPN/ATL (White Plains/Atlanta). I was going to Atlanta on a business trip; and wouldn’t be checking a bag, so the money saved was worthwhile. Since the flights were Regional jets CRJ-900, the worst seat I could get would be the last row in coach. This jet is aisle/window, so no middle seat to gamble on.
Since this was a regional jet, they bag checked anything that was bigger than normal. The boarding process appeared ‘normal’. Since I have the Delta credit card, I boarded in Zone 1, before the other zones, but after first class and Medallion members. If they were stopping people with larger carryons, I didn’t see it. The gate announced that you could bring on a purse/briefcase and 1 carryon.
I was checking the seat map from 10 days out to the day before departure on both legs. Economy showed 1 seat left in the back, with several Comfort Plus seats (shown in blue on the seat map). Hmmm. Would I get lucky? I did online check in when I received the e mail from Delta at the 24 hour mark. When I arrived at the gate, I was handed 20B, the last row in coach! Gasp. No recline. Based on the experience outbound, I waited until I got to the airport to check in for my return flight. Would I get a better seat? There were no seats left in coach 2 days before the flight. I’m wondering out loud if Delta blocks seats for those that don’t get an assigned seat. At the gate, I told the agent I was in 20B on the outbound, and if possible, could I get another row for the return. He handed my 19C. Oh well. So much for waiting for the last minute to check in to get a better seat. A few minutes later, I walked back to the agent to ask how seats were assigned for Basic Economy. He told me the other gate agent assigned the seats when the gate opened for check in. He made it sound like there was no rhyme or reason to the assignments.
It was an interesting experiment to see what seat I ended up in. Both flights were full. A bit of good news… on the outbound, just prior to the doors closing, the agent boarded and was heading directly to the rear of the plane. As a frequent flyer, I’ve seen this happen before. There were 2 Comfort Plus seats available in row 6, so 20a and 20b (me) were asked to move up for weights and balances.
I’m not sure if I would buy a Basic Economy seat in the future, especially on a mainline jet. The idea of sitting in a middle seat all the way in the back isn’t worth it.
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I think the worst thing about basic economy is the risk of getting stuck in the back row or any row with no/limited recline. Especially for people who are prone to motion sickness. Unfortunately 3 of the 4 in our family have this challenge, and so have had to skip the savings basic offers since we don’t enjoy reaching our destination on the edge of vomiting.
I did not get priority 1 boarding even though I have their credit card. All of us were zone 3
There are a few things that have to be met for priority boarding (Gold, Platinum, or Reserve cards only for example). https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/benefits/detail/priority-boarding/delta-gold