Passengers on United Airlines will be able to purchase tickets for the carrier’s new Premium Plus cabin starting on Monday. Flights across 21 routes and 13 destinations will be the first to offer the additional class of service. Premium Plus flights begin on 30 March 2019, with some routes extending into May 2019 for the new service. Initial premium economy operations will center at the carrier’s hubs in Newark, Washington-Dulles and San Francisco.
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.
Finnair’s new short-haul wifi solution, powered by Viasat, is no longer free. The carrier ended the introductory trial period for the service this week, bringing a split-tier performance and pricing model into play.
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.