The nation’s top airline says it is planning to follow the announcement of United and Delta by rolling out new fares they call “Basic Economy”. The new fares only allow one carry-on item that fits under the seat and you can’t use the overhead bin. You also can not get advance seat assignments, upgrade your seats, change travel plans or standby for other flights. Basically I call this the use it or lose it fares. These fares will be rolled out by United in the coming weeks and followed by Delta which should have basic economy fares implemented across the system later this year. Ironically all the airlines are bragging that this “cheap-fare” option will actually increase the price for travelers as they have to pay more for what was previously free. Delta says they will generate $300 million in new revenue and United says it will produce $250 million.
I think Basic Economy fares will be a giant disaster for the Big 3 airlines –
Southwest Airlines is licking its chops as it watches the Big 3 airlines (American, Delta and United) implement their cheap-fare option called Basic Economy. The Big 3 say they need these budget fares to compete with low-fare airlines like Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant Airlines. I personally think they are making a big mistake. I think what they are doing is making their customers more and more frustrated as they add more and more complexity and more and more fees. Southwest CEO, Gary Kelly, commented in SKIFT that his competitors were treating some passengers as second class customers and that Southwest had no plans to implement a cheap-fare program. Southwest now has a powerful 3 step message where they can now brag that you don’t pay extra for #1 luggage, #2 overhead carry-on, and #3 change fees. These are three very powerful features that the BIG 3 just surrendered to Southwest. CLICK HERE to read more.
Next week I fly to Abu Dhabi and Dubai to see first-hand how the new travel ban is affecting passengers traveling to the U.S. –
It is an amazing coincidence that I am flying to the United Arab Emirates this week to attend a meeting with key airline, hotel and travel executives. It will be interesting to see if the “sky is falling” as the press is reporting or if the political hyperbola from the travel ban is translating to long lines and hardships for some. I look forward to reporting to you what I see at the two largest airports that serve the Middle East. I think many Americans might agree with Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association when he says “It is imperative we find the right balance between security and facilitation, and we stand ready to support the administration and Congress to achieve this goal.”
Take a look at our new newsletter for travelers called “Travel Week in Review” –
Each Tuesday at 10:30am I send out over 58,000 weekly travel alert emails with my observations and editorials on hot issues in the travel industry to customers, friends, industry experts and the press. Many of our customers have asked us to supplement the Weekly Travel Alert with a traveler focus. Last week we launched our first edition of “Travel Week in Review” which is a summary of industry news from the prior week. CLICK HERE to take a look at our new publication and let us know if you want to sign up to receive it every Friday.
TSA is reducing the numbers of passenger who receive free TSA PreCheck screening –
The TSA has provided many of the airlines’ best customers with free access to the TSA PreCheck expedited security lane at airports. Starting in February the government agency says they will ‘significantly reduce’ the number of freebies they hand out. The agency wants people to pay the $85 fee for the 5 year pass so they are cutting off this expedited service in hopes those people will pay the $85 fee. The TSA PreCheck is one of the best services for people who fly a lot. Not only do you get the express lane for security screening but you also don’t need to remove coats, belts and laptops from your carry-on. CLICK HERE for more info on TSA Precheck.
Vacation Dreams Travel Expo – a smashing success! –
Executive Travel hosted its first Vacation Dreams Travel Expo this past Sunday at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel. More than 300 customers and friends showed up for an exciting afternoon full of travel destination presentations, snacks and drawings for great prizes. If you missed our event, please CLICK HERE to take a look at all our amazing 2017 escorted tours. Call our friendly group department at 402-435-8888 to receive detailed information and travel brochures of your Vacation Dream destination.