Looking for a leg up
Air travel has changed a lot over the past decade. A la carte pricing and smaller economy class seats have become the norm in America. Airlines adopted these and other cost-saving practices during an industry-wide downturn that took hold a decade ago. Recently, though, some companies have begun to roll back a few of those measures. U.S. legacy carriers once again have even started serving drinks and snacks on domestic flights.
Ultra low-cost carriers like Spirit Airlines have further complicated the picture by competing only on price and taking the a la carte idea to new heights. (Spirit charges for BOTH carry-on luggage AND checked baggage.) Legacy airlines have responded by offering “basic economy” fares that mimic Spirit and its low-cost peers.
With airlines now considering sub-economy seating and even toying with the idea of "standing seats," air travel could continue to get cheaper. But it could also get a lot less comfortable, and the difference between classes could become more pronounced.
Here's what to look for as air travel continues to evolve ...