United, American sell cheap but restricted tickets

DALLAS (AP) -- American and United have started selling cheaper "basic economy" fares as they battle discount airlines for the most budget-conscious travelers.

American announced early Tuesday that it began selling the new fares for flights starting March 1 on 10 different routes from its hub airports in Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now United says it too is selling cut-rate tickets on some flights from Minneapolis to seven of its hub cities including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Basic economy fares are often $20 to $40 cheaper per round trip, but they come with severe restrictions. Buyers are in the last group to board, and they can only carry a small item that fits under their seat.