How Major Airlines Plan to Compete with Discount Airlines

by Allie Moore

Feb 1, 2018

ticket © Conejota | Dreamstime

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In recent years, small-name airlines began to fly the same routes as bigger airlines, but at far cheaper prices. Not only do these newer airlines offer less-expensive fares, but they also provide access to some destinations the big three — Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines — currently do not fly to directly. This leaves the big three facing a dilemma: How do they keep their customers during the rise of the low-cost, frills-free international airline?

One way American and United plan to compete is by offering tickets at simple base fares, the cost of which covers a seat on the plane and not much else in the way of additional amenities. These tickets essentially match what the low-cost players offer: o=One seat on the plane, and passengers pay extra fees for services such as in-flight meals, checked bags and seat selection.

The major airlines also are hoping their rewards programs and benefits keep customers loyal. While low-cost Norwegian launched its own rewards model, travelers would have to start from the beginning when earning and redeeming points with the airline.

U.S.-based airlines work on improving in-flight WiFi connections, a service Norwegian has yet to offer in its long-haul cabins, and they also are enhancing in-flight menus to appeal to travelers who haven’t prepared for meal-less flights.

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