Thursday, March 29, 2012

The New Airline Era: Cash Trumps "Loyalty"

Does that title sound cynical? Color us cynical, then, after watching what our carrier of choice over the past decade, United Airlines, is doing.

Basically, it appears obvious that United is deliberately moving to a model in which what you're paying for today's flight is more important than the amount of business you've given the airline over the past X years. A lot of discussion has been going on about this for some time among frequent fliers.

Whether it's post-merger problems or a deliberate effort (we suspect the latter) quite some number of FlyerTalk members have even claimed that customers with no status on United are being offered the opportunity to "buy up" to First Class, and that sometimes customers with elite status aren't offered the same opportunity.

Even the person who flies only once a year may notice the same "everything's-for-sale" effect.

Here's one example: After checking out Seat Guru, you decide that you'd like to pick out a better seat than that back-row middle across from the lavatory.

A recent column in USA Today asks the question: Are airlines withholding seats so you'll pay a premium?

We think we already know the answer, but read the article and decide for yourself.

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