If you’re a cheapo like us, boy have we got good news for you. Shanghai-based China Eastern, one of the world’s top ten airline groups, has started offering basic economy class tickets for those looking to fly frugal.
The move puts the airline now in direct competition with the likes of low-cost carriers such as AirAsia, Jetstar Airways, and closer to home, Spring Airlines.
Basic economy fares will now only be available on international flights within Asia, so you won’t find them if you’re flying within China, or to Europe and North America.
Less comfortable, but cheaper
This new option cuts the amenities down to a minimum and doesn’t offer online check-in, check-in baggage, or seat selection. But hey, it will shave off more than a few ¥¥¥ off the ticket price, and that’s all we care about, right?
Shanghaiist looked up flights to Bangkok, and here’s what we found:
While we expect to be getting less for our money, we did not anticipate to be so discouraged from actually purchasing the basic economy ticket.
All the red “X” signs and a pop-up window helpfully informing us of more restrictions ahead do not seem too inviting.
A new path for growth?
Fierce competition with budget airlines and other low-cost upstarts has driven full-service carriers to offer more budget-friendly options.
With the new fare class, China Eastern is hoping to forge new paths into markets such as Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Japan.
Meanwhile, the company appears upbeat about Beijing’s new Daxing airport and the business opportunities it will bring the airline.
Budget carrier China United, a China Eastern subsidiary, will be relocated to the new airport by 2020.
It currently operates from Beijing Nanyuan Airport, which at 110 years old, is China’s oldest airport.