(NBC) – It’s not just coach and first class anymore. Airlines are now offering a bare-bones “Basic economy” tier.
According to Amanda Norcross of airfarewatchdog.com, “It’s a cheaper alternative for travelers who are looking for an affordable experience.”
But make sure you read what’s included because it’s not much. It might seem like you’re saving money, but if you travel with a carry-on bags, you might not be able to bring it on the plane. A basic economy fare puts you in one of the last boarding groups, and if the overhead storage bins are full, you might have to shell out 50 bucks to check it.
Often, you can’t choose a seat assignment or pay for upgrades such as a seat with extra legroom.
“The best thing you can do,” advises Norcross, “is pack light and maybe expect to sit next to the bathroom.”
And if it seems like ticket prices fluctuate by the minute, they can! Similar to Uber’s “Surge pricing”, more airlines are utilizing dynamic pricing, changing fares based on demand and customer data.
Says Norcross, “80% of consumers actually don’t know anything about the dynamic pricing strategy.”
Avoid dynamic pricing by clearing cookies and search history, searching for flights multiple times on different days and devices, and booking in an “Incognito” browser.
“It’s absolutely legal for airlines to search your browse history search history and determine what they think you’ll be willing to spend for a flight,” says Norcross.
The trick is, making sure they don’t get that information.
Get the lowest fare by traveling outside of the busiest travel times and tracking prices through a website like google flights or airfare watchdog, which can send alerts if the price drops.