Do You Fly First Class, Business Class, or Last Class?

According to  Business Insider, airlines have introduced an informal new seating arrangement called “last class”. The term is new to me (I’ve never heard an airline employee use it) but the concept has been around for years; you may know it as “smart shopping”.

LISTEN: Has Rick ever flown last class?

What is Last Class?

Last class is the ultimate in no-frills flying; a bare-bones experience for a very cheap price. This is either an unappealing travel option or a badge of honor, depending on your attitude. Those who want a premium travel experience probably won’t like it but if you like saving money, last class may be the only way to fly.

What you may find in last class:

  • Cheap fares*
  • Back-of-the-plane seating (sometimes next to lavatories)
  • No early boarding
  • No seat selection (or few to choose from)
  • Non-refundable tickets
  • Multiple fees (sometimes for basics like carry-on bags or soft drinks and water)

*But not always the cheapest! See number 4 below.

Where to Find Last Class

Airlines that call themselves ultra-discounters have been offering this bare-bones travel experience for years. Look for it on Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, Ryanair and others airlines around the globe.

Now, larger carriers are muscling in ‘last class’ territory, including:

  • American: The legacy carrier said it expects to offer cheaper flights with fewer frills sometime next year.
  • Delta: This airline has been offering Basic Economy fares for a while now, offering no-frills, no refunds, no upgrades.

You can also find last class pricing just by following these simple rules:

  1. Fly the cheapest days: Usually Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday
  2. Fly to/from large airports: Hubs usually offer cheaper prices.
  3. Avoid non-stops: They are often cheaper than connecting flights.
  4. Always compare airfare: No single airline (not even those proudly offering ‘last class’) always has the cheapest fares.


Updated: January 4, 2016