American Airlines announced Thursday that it will make its Basic Economy fares a little less basic.
Starting September 5, Basic Economy passengers will be able to bring one piece of carry-on baggage for free.
“Basic Economy is working well in the markets where we offer it, and we continue to see more than 60 percent of customers buy up to Main Cabin when offered a choice,” American Airlines Group President Robert Isom said in a statement. “Removing the bag restriction will make Basic Economy more competitive, allowing us to offer this low-fare product to more customers.”
Travelers who have already purchased Basic Economy airfare for September 5 or later will be eligible for the free carry-on. The change applies to all destinations.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said in a conference call on Thursday that the change was triggered by “filters on things like Google search that ask you if you want to bring a carry-on.” If a passenger selected yes, American Airlines fares would show up lower on the list “because it adds $20 to our fare.”
But even with the new carry-on allowance, Basic Economy passengers should not expect their bag will make it into the cabin with them. This tier of passengers is still the last to board, meaning that all overhead cabin space will likely be gone and passengers forced to gateside check their bags.
Following the lead of other airlines like United, American Airlines introduced Basic Economy in February 2017. Passengers could not pick their own seat assignments, make changes to their reservation or be eligible for upgrades.
Delta Air Lines already allows basic economy passengers to bring carry-on bags.