If a low price is the most important factor to you when booking a flight, this may help you snag a cheaper ticket.
USA Today reports that Delta is expanding its “basic economy” fares, which were introduced to compete with discount carriers like Spirit and Frontier.
What exactly is a basic economy fare?
According to Delta’s website, this option typically has the lowest fare, but changes are not allowed and seats are assigned after check-in. These travelers are also not eligible for upgrades.
Unlike Spirit Airlines, which charges $3 for a soda, Delta’s basic economy fare will still come with complimentary snack and beverage service, plus in-flight entertainment.
Basic economy vs. main cabin
We wanted to see how much money can be saved by purchasing this no-frills fare, so we used Delta’s booking tool to test it out.
A round-trip basic economy fare from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale in mid-September would cost $126, which is $46 less than a regular seat in the main cabin.
Basic economy is coming to United as well!
In addition to Delta, United Airlines is rolling out a basic economy fare in early 2017. The airline will limit full-size carry-ons for these passengers.
Here’s how United describes the baggage policy for basic economy ticketholders:
You’re allowed to bring a small personal item on board, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm) or less. Full-size carry-on bags are not allowed unless you’re a Premier member, a primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or a Star Alliance Gold member. Basic Economy fares have the same checked baggage policies as regular Economy tickets.
This move appears to be the latest example of how low-cost airlines are forcing full-fare airlines to lower their prices.
How to find the cheapest airfare
To find the lowest fares, start with a comparison site like Kayak. The website’s price forecast, which is located in the upper-left corner of a search results page, can help you decide whether to buy the ticket or wait to see if fares drop.
Clark also likes Kayak Explore. To find hidden gems, go to Kayak.com/explore and enter the location you will be departing from and the month you want to travel.
Kayak will show you a map with low round-trip fares:
Read more: 5 simple tips to stretch your travel budget