Airlines and the Race to the Bottom; How Consumers Are the Winners

Traveling internationally via airplane used to be a luxurious and dignified experience. Wealthy people would dress up in their best attire to take a first-class lounge seat on a new airliner. Champagne was flowing, the food was fresh, and smiles were aplenty!

Fast forward to 2017 and it seems like every week a new airline is starting up with a creative angle or an established airline reduces or removes its onboard services, replaceable with a cost. All in the name of a dollar.

However, when most travelers see these pricing structures they immediately assume that the dollar being named is the dollar going into the airline’s bank account. However, the reality is very different. Let’s take a look.

The reason why airlines remove many of their services is purely because these services attract a charge to the airline, which they must pass on to you. For example:

Checking in a bag not only means that the airline needs to pay a portion to the baggage handlers, your bag may also be preventing freight from being shipped, along with weighing down the plane itself.

No luxurious onboard entertainment means that the plane doesn’t need to carry additional heavy and power-hungry computer equipment, along with saving weight and time on installing screens on the back of each seat.

With just two examples it is clear to see that there is far more going on behind the scenes when it comes to the pricing set by airlines for services now deemed to be additional.

All of this sounds great for the airlines, but how does a traveler benefit from this shift in operation.

While a traveler may only see the removal of services, their attention should be focused squarely on the price they are paying for their ticket.

Yes, a basic ticket now means that you don’t get any food, a blanket, or any form of expedited check-in, notice that the price you are paying for your ticket hasn’t increased much from the previous year or the year before it. For example, if you take a look at the deals on the Groupon Coupons page for CheapOair you can see just how far your dollar will get you, compared to previous years.

This is due in large part because of the changes airlines have made to their processes and offerings.

Surely there has to be a bottom?

Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect that the decline in ticket prices can last forever. After all, an airline can only reduce its profit margins by so much. And it’s true – eventually, airlines will run out of ways to further reduce the price of tickets.

What does this mean for you, as a traveler?

Put simply, travel while the prices are low! If you have been putting off a holiday waiting for the perfect flight price, don’t risk that you will miss out before they begin to rise again. Now is the time to travel!

Jennifer Winget

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