Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cater to the business fliers

First they were in the GDS, then they were out, and now they are back in. JetBlue appears to have a wavering love of the business flier. Business fliers like to book at the last minute and therefore put more money on the table for a seat. However, they also demand more perks, which add costs. Now JetBlue has announced that the airline is researching offering refundable tickets for higher fares. They want to be able to reserve the greater pitch aisle seats at the front of the plane for those corporate fliers, see here.

This little blurb is just another sign that the traditional classification of airline business models are blurring. JetBlue, a low-cost airline in the daily literature, is emulating more and more the traditional airlines in the market. This is necessary since JetBlue is realizing it can't offer all those perks at the lowest fares in the market. It has two options, shed costs and dilute its offering, but that will strip the airline of its charm, or attempt to capture more business fliers at higher yields. Eventually, traditional carriers will imitate LCCs more and more and the models will not be easily distinguished in the future.

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