Changed industry has made airlines smarter but business travellers less happy
Scheduled flights booked within a couple of days of departure have become much more expensive than they once were. That’s damaging the faith of airlines’ most trusted passengers – business travellers. Booking around four to six weeks in advance often gets the best fares, but last-minute flights without a stay on a Saturday have become noticeably pricier than they used to be. “The airlines are really socking it to the business traveller,” says one air-fare analyst.
Programs that appealed to passengers with price stability which airlines launched in the past have failed, as they limited airlines’ abilities to get a better yield. Now it’s a different market. Consolidation has resulted in higher fares due to less competition. Airlines are cautious about increasing capacity after the recession, meaning that more people are competing for fewer seats. Fuel surcharges are also adding to the total fare, no matter when it’s booked. And airlines have become cleverer at how they distribute their inventory – cutting the number of seats that are cheaper.
[pictured: Royal Jordanian]