The Problems with Frequent Flyer Plans
Airliners encourage loyalty by giving their loyal costumers frequent flyer programs. A recent survey notes that the costumers in those programs do not feel like they are saving, anymore. Before such programs were created, the flyers simply went on the airliner that gave them the best deal, at the moment. Usually, the plans involve flying a set of miles and the getting free seating upgrades. Upgrades now have become harder because airlines have been making serious cutbacks. This price war is affecting all the seating in the plane. Costumers now prefer to buy them, than to wait to randomly get upgraded for free. Certain airliners now offer last minute buy ups to those who bought an economic air ticket. Delta plans now to sell 70 percent of its business and first class seats, than give them away. This plan will be up and running by 2018. Only just a few years ago this company only sold 31 percent of these high priced seats. Thanks to price wars, all airliners have been forced to rethink this age old strategy. They can get more by actually selling the high priced seats, than by giving them away. It is just simply arithmetic. The only ones who suffer are the costumers who are used to getting these incentives to fly. Delta also made it harder to even get upgraded to premium economy. Half of those seats will now be sold, instead of a third. The miles of the Frequent Flier programs have also been increased. It takes almost twice as many miles to get the desired upgrade. Also each flight, now gives you fewer points toward getting an upgraded seat. Now things that used to be awarded, have fees and surcharges. Awarded seats are now being offered in connecting flights. They have also been scheduled in inconvenient times for passengers to redeem those seats. This is not to say that the Frequent Flier Programs don’t award anything. However, the hassle involved in this process is starting discourage fliers. American Airline this August too followed in the suit of United and Delta. They will now offer 25 percent less miles, when the costumer flies in a partner airline. Some even charge, flying to Hawaii like an international flight. Then again, Hawaii is in the middle of the Pacific. And then there are the credit cards involved. These cards pay airliners to award purchaser miles, to lure in costumers. So even if you think you are saving on the one end, you are wasting those savings with the credit cards. Then again, this only applies to customers who cannot pay the whole bill by the end of the month. Those interests do add up, and in time a flight that costs $700, might end up costing a $1000. Airline stores also offer miles, but the savings are overshadowed by the overpriced items in the airline shopping malls. It is time to rethink the Frequent Flier plans, since 4 airliners control 80 percent of domestic travel. With such low competition, monopolistic tendencies are bound to arise.