Tuesday, June 24, 2008

An old trick for airlines 

Via OTB, I see that United is having too many leakages from its business travelers (and the price discrimination they impose) and thus is using an old ploy to reinforce their market segmentation.
United Airlines said Friday it will start requiring minimum stays for nearly all domestic flights beginning in October. It is also raising its cheapest fares by as much as $90 one-way.

The second-largest U.S. carrier said the moves are among a number of changes it is making to combat record high fuel prices. The Chicago-based airline has been among the most aggressive in the industry in pushing fares and fuel surcharges higher in recent months, and its latest policy could prompt other carriers to consider following suit.

This has been done before, and the way you got around the rule was to use consecutive ticketing. It does not appear that the airlines can enforce back-to-back restrictions directly, so using a three-night-stay minimum is going to help them. The question will be whether or not low-cost airlines will match United. I'll say 'no'.