Would You Purchase Tickets for No-Frills International Flights From Legacy Carriers?

I f you want to travel as a passenger on a transatlantic flight for as little cost as possible, there are options such as Norwegian Air Shuttle, which is attempting to serve more cities in the United States with flights to Europe

…but along with those low airfares are extra costs for everything from food to fees for baggage. This is unlike purchasing a transoceanic ticket on airlines such as American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, where you know that you will be served at least one meal and have certain baggage allowances included in the price of the airfare; as well as enjoy benefits normally associated with being a member of the frequent flier loyalty program of the airline — whether or not you have elite level status…

…right?!?

Would You Purchase Tickets for No-Frills International Flights From Legacy Carriers?

“It’s only a matter of time before American, United and other major carriers adopt similar no-frill tickets for international flights, said Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks, a Wisconsin-based travel and airline consulting company.”

According to this article written by Hugo Martin of the Los Angeles Times, Sorensen thinks “the consumer will react fine with this.”

Some people might think that legacy airlines adapting basic economy airfares for long-haul flights might seem ludicrous — but there is already a history of legacy carriers offering basic economy airfares for domestic flights within the United States; and that practice does not appear to be going away anytime soon.

No-Frills Domestic Airfares: Setting a Precedent?

United Airlines and American Airlines adapted what seems to be the lemming approach to the policy originally implemented by Delta Air Lines by emulating its basic economy airfare model where you can purchase an airfare at a lower price while foregoing benefits normally associated with being a member of the frequent flier loyalty program of the airline — whether or not you have elite level status.

The purpose of basic economy fares is to compete with ultra-low-cost carriers such as Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, which have been adding more routes. One example is in Atlanta — in which Delta Air Lines is the dominant carrier and Southwest Airlines is secondary after its takeover of AirTran Airways — where more routes and more flights have been aggressively added by Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines…

…but I believe that there is at least one potentially fatal flaw with this approach — about which you can read in more detail in this article — and international long-haul flights are not exempt from that potentially fatal flaw.

Summary

Is Jay Sorensen speaking for you when he thinks ”that the consumer will react fine with this”?

There has been a proliferation of low airfares in recent months from legacy carriers around the world which at one time would have been viewed as mistake fares — the latest one being this airfare between major cities in the the United States and certain cities in Asia starting at $505.00.

With airfares that low for a number of reasons, the possibility of airlines offering on their international routes the equivalent of the basic economy airfare of Delta Air Lines to compete with ultra-low-cost carriers seems to be more likely in order to be able to cut costs…

…but on which legacy carriers will it be implemented — and would you pay less for the opportunity to fly as a passenger on international flights without including basic benefits such as food and baggage allowances? If not, is there a threshold which would change your mind?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

One thought on “Would You Purchase Tickets for No-Frills International Flights From Legacy Carriers?”

  1. bo says:

    The problem with international a la cart pricing is that they will have a hard time getting their foreign competition to match, and different regions have different market standards. US carriers cut complimentary checked bag from 2 to 1 on US-Asia routes only to find that many Asian carriers were unwilling to match. Some since had rolled back. If they can’t get the competition to match they risk bookaways and the market’s reaction won’t be “fine”

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