Basic fare race heats up with Porter’s new entry-level fare option

Another stripped-down fare with Porter’s new entry-level Basic

TORONTO — Porter Airlines is the latest airline to introduce a new entry-level fare class to meet increasing demand for price flexibility.

Called Basic, the entry-level fare “is designed to provide essential services for passengers with definite travel plans, and delivers the lowest available price on select flights booked at least 21 days prior to departure”, says the airline.

With the new fare, itinerary changes or cancellations are not permitted, and no refunds or credits are issued. Online check-in is allowed, while boarding passes must be retrieved at the airport check-in counter.

For passengers flying with this fare, one personal item like a small purse or briefcase is permitted onboard. All other bags must be checked for a fee. Other service options like advance seat selection are also available at additional cost.

Porter says its Basic fare is now available on select routes, including Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, and Windsor. Additional routes are planned over a period of time.

Porter now has four fare classes: Freedom (all optional services included, refundable, changeable and cancelable); Flexible (some optional services included); Standard, formerly Firm (discounted fares with all optional services available for a fee); and Basic (lowest fare with some optional services available for a fee).

All passengers, regardless of fare class, receive complimentary premium services like beer, wine and snacks onboard, as well as lounge access in select airports. VIPorter members in the First, Priority and Passport categories also get the benefits of their loyalty status when booking any fare class.

On who the Basic fare is best suited to, Michael Deluce, Porter Airlines’ Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, says: “This product appeals to the most price-conscious traveller. The Basic fare will attract new customers who are looking for the lowest price. Like all Porter fares, it includes our award-winning Flying Refined service.”

Porter’s Basic fare comes on the heels of United Airlines’ latest lowest-priced fares announced last month, considered to be the first step towards a Basic Economy product on United’s transatlantic flights.

Lufthansa announced a similar fare in May called Economy ‘Light’ on routes to North America served by Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines.

And back in February, both Air Canada and WestJet launched basic fares. Air Canada introduced its Economy Basic fare on select routes and flights within Canada, and then expanded availability to select transborder and transatlantic routes.

Air Canada’s Economy Basic was in line with several other airlines that have launched basic no-frills fares within the past couple of years, including British Airways, Air France KLM, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

A week after Air Canada launched Economy Basic, WestJet matched Air Canada’s move with its new Econo (Lowest) fare.

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