Sun Country’s pivot to a ULCC continues unabated. More than a year after the carrier announced plans for a new approach to the market the changes continue. Up next: further cabin reconfiguration and a revamp of the loyalty and co-brand credit card strategy that seem unlikely to make many customers happy.
“Tokenized cryptorewards” and other buzzwords flew around the room at Loyalty Live in Chicago last week. Fortunately the hype was (eventually) countered by a bit of loyalty program reality. Blockchain will not save or even truly transform loyalty programs. But it has a role and we were fortunate to discuss that for 20 minutes on stage.
Canadian upstart Swoop, the ULCC arm of WestJet, aims to succeed as an airline mostly by not really acting like an airline. Sure, there are airplanes and pilots and such, but CEO Steven Greenway is adamant that change come quickly. And he’s keen to dramatically upset the North American aviation market along the way.
In the end the difference was a couple hundred million or so. That’s the sweetener added by Air Canada and its banking partners to buy Aeroplan back from Aimia and boost the “new” in-house loyalty program at the carrier
The push for US airlines to better monetize their loyalty programs continues to grow. But don't expect it to happen any time soon. Airline executives continue to push back – strongly – against such suggestions from Wall Street analysts. The most recent such conversation, during American Airlines' Q2 2018 earnings call CEO Doug Parker was aggressive in explaining why his airline will not be considering such. The co-brand relationship with the credit card is simply too strong.
Aeroplan will still have a Canadian airline partner when Air Canada’s participation in the program ends in 2020. Toronto-based Porter Air will convert its VIPorter loyalty program into the Aeroplan scheme at that time. Ongoing conversations with the oneworld alliance could further extend the loyalty program’s reach as its Star Alliance link disappears.
Does a merger integration still count as wildly successful if it hurts revenues to the tune of 1.5% for 9ish months? Alaska Airlines’ PSS integration came off incredibly smoothly on the operations side, but the carrier missed on the loyalty side. And lots of frequent flyers got a ton of award seats as a result.
A year after announcing that it would no longer be an Aimia customer Air Canada (and its banking partners) now wants to buy the Aeroplan program off the loyalty operator. At a nice discount, of course. And it still is probably a smart move for everyone.
Passengers won’t pay for more space on planes. This is the commonly accepted mantra and driving logic behind the ongoing “densification” efforts to squeeze more seats onto planes. And, for the most part, that’s proven true. A growing subset of travelers are, however, willing to pay more. Delta Air Lines’ Premium Select will expand across the widebody fleet to capture even more of that revenue.
The long slog to full integration of Emirates and flyDubai continues apace. This week’s announcement brings the loyalty programs of the two carriers together. And the move looks an awful lot like a shotgun wedding, with minimal regard for the flyDubai OPEN members’ history with that program.