A new trend being seen in airlines overseas resembles that of eBay for first class or business-class seats. As we all know, the price of airline tickets are not cheap and therefore, it is normal for many customers to automatically choose a coach ticket when flying. Airlines realized this was not giving them their most potential profits and looked for a way to fix it. As learned in class, in order to succeed, you have to continually look at the systems you are working with, and learn how to improve and be the best that you can. Airlines overseas, such as Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic, Brussels Airlines and CopaAirlines, realized this airline eBay and saw it as a potential to improve their company.
A company in New York has developed a system that essentially gives customers the opportunity to have “bidding wars” with one another in order to upgrade their seats. Once you purchase a coach seat, the airline will then allow you the opportunity to bid on an available upgraded seat. You will be given a minimum amount that you can offer in your bid, and then you decide the amount you would be willing to pay. If customers choose to participate in this auction process and end up with the highest bidding amount, the airline contacts them 48 hours before their flight and notifies them they had the winning amount and will receive the upgrade.
The decision to implement this newly developed system is turning out to be very profitable for the airlines. This eBay style system is not only saving customers hundreds to thousands of dollars due to not having to pay full price for first class seats, but it is also generating a good amount of revenue for the airlines. It has given them an opportunity to receive money for seats that weren’t originally selling at all.
While this system has seen many positive outcomes, there are a few worries airlines are having with it. Airlines are seeing that their loyal and frequent flyers, that are normally offered these available upgraded seats, are complaining they will no longer receive this. Airlines, therefore, have to come up with a solution that balances opportunities for frequent flyers and opportunities for flyers using the bidding process. Airlines do not want to implement a system that benefits half of their customers, but enrages the other half.
Do you think airlines will be able to come up with a balance between frequent flyers and flyers using the bidding process? Do you think this airline eBay will be something that continues to grow? Is it something that only overseas airlines will grab onto, or do you see this system succeeding in the U.S. as well?
Picture: Etihad Airways – http://society.ezinemark.com/best-first-class-airline-seats-worldwide-77365a7d46da.html