Thursday, 26 October 2017

Different Prices - Same Disruptions

Time to Rethinking the Airline Pricing 

Despite more choices, traditional airline pricing is mostly associated with stationary class differentiation based mainly on seat comfort, like availability of food service, baggage allowances, or flight rescheduling. They don’t take into account the dynamics and growing disruptiveness of air travel, especially at busiest airports.

Today, even the highest-fare passengers experience long delays, lose connections, queue at various stages of their journey, spend time and extra money while waiting for the departure of their delayed flight, or have to rearrange their travel. Often, they are not prioritised as expected, and getting help during and after flight cancellations is not guaranteed. And, with usually high load factors, chances to rebook to the next flight are becoming slimmer. While insurance policies may absorb some of the costs of poor experience, they cannot compensate for the frustration, stress, anger, and other kinds of emotions of fragile, robust, and even antifragile passengers associated with unexpectedly long and poorly handled interruptions to their journeys.


Disruptions are a classless experience and there will be much more of them in the foreseeable future considering the state of the industry and how it is organised and managed. Isn’t it time to rethink the pricing policies and introduce more dynamics in passenger choices when their travel plans are being significantly changed against their will? These could be things like: you pay a bit more for making sure that flight delays longer than xx hours will be automatically processed (rather than entering a messy procedure for compensation claims with uncertain outcome), or the ability to stay longer in a city in which you experienced a flight cancellation and reschedule your flight to a day and time that suits both you and the airline. Or maybe for passengers that don’t worry much about their return date or even airport, why not offer a discount and be in a win-win situation. There are many more options that, apart from reducing the amount of stress and getting some more space for other passengers at critical times, airlines can get more return passengers and count on their loyalty. A great way to  boost revenue.

The proverb goes: ‘If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got’ - in this case much worse.