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British Airways has long been known as an air carrier that attaches heavy taxes and other fees onto award flights — particularly on premium cabin fares — but the market may be finally catching up to it. British Airways shared last Wednesday that it was trialing a new type of award-seat fare that comes with a nominal £1 (USD $1.25) in carrier-imposed taxes and fees, a stark contrast from the typical costs that Executive Club loyalty members are used to paying when booking award seats.
News of the sale at British Airways arrives only a month after Qantas, its Oneworld partner in Australia, retooled its loyalty program and cut many taxes and fees — though British apparently has been testing the new £1 award seats since May. Now its £1 campaign is spreading to new markets in Europe and the United Kingdom.
Reduced fees on at least a portion of British Airways inventory may be the light at the end of the tunnel for many Executive Club members who have long been unhappy with the carrier’s fee strategy on award seats. According to AwardWallet, British has “renown for adding high surcharges on transatlantic routes, with a round-trip to Europe in business often copping a hefty $1,200 or more in fees and charges.” It’s true that this current campaign from British won’t touch those $1,200 fees on transatlantic award seats. If this trial continues to go well, however, one can only hope that the campaign will expand.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
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United Airlines’ Quest for New Revenue Bucks Trend Toward Simplicity: Many airlines are on a simplicity kick, arguing they can save money and operate more efficiently by flying only a few types of airplanes, all built by the same manufacturer and with similar engines, and by standardizing seat counts on each plane type. But United Airlines is bucking the trend, calculating it can reduce capital expenditures and boost revenue by chasing all opportunities.
Marriott Resort Fee Lawsuit Puts New Target on Long-Held Hotel Industry Practice: A lawsuit pending against Marriott in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia may very well result in the company and its franchisees paying millions of dollars in restitution for resort fees that it is accused of deceptively charging guests. But it is unlikely to eliminate the practice from the hotel industry altogether, experts say.
Should Boeing Change the Name of the 737 Max to Put Passengers at Ease? An obscure Twitter account called Woodys Aeroimages earlier this week posted a picture of one of Ryanair’s high-capacity Boeing 737 Max jets. Ordinarily this would have intrigued only aviation enthusiasts, but it went viral because of a slight change in wording between the passenger boarding door and the aircraft’s nose.
Quelle Surprise! EasyJet Hates the Idea of France’s New Eco Tax: The aviation industry’s impact on the environment is only going to grow over the coming years as air travel increases across the world. Increasing taxes might force airlines to find new solutions while also raising money to fund more sustainable forms of transport.
Delta Air Lines and 3 Other Groups Will Work to Rescue Alitalia: The state railway running Italy’s Alitalia airline chose the Atlantia group of the Benetton empire as the final partner to work with the railway, the Italian treasury, and Delta Air Lines on trying once again to relaunch the struggling flagship carrier.
Grant Martin [email@example.com] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is also a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.