Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Flying high with free miles

Full-service airlines are banking on loyalty programmes to wrest market share from low-cost carriers (LCCs) whose discounted fares have kept legacy carriers such as Jet Airways and Air India at a distance.

While they cannot offer discounts upfront as LCCs do, self-service airlines are rewarding their loyal customers and wooing newer ones with frequent flyer loyalty programmes, crediting thousands of free miles into their account every time they fly.

Jet Airways, which rolls out offers regularly to keep passengers sticking to it, recently announced a jackpot of 1 million miles free before the end of this month, while there are daily offers of 1 lakh free miles as well.

“Don’t go just by fares,” said Praveen Iyer, Vice-President, Commercial, Sales for Jet Airways. According to him, LCCs offer discounts which may seem attractive, but a loyal customer of a full-service carrier gets several benefits including free miles, free meals and higher baggage allowance thrown in. “A simple maths calculation shows that you end up getting a fare which is lesser than the LCC fare,” Iyer said.

An article in The Economist magazine quoting a research published by consultancy firmKPMG said that legacy carriers are increasingly indistinguishable from their low-cost rivals in terms of the fares they charge, topped by the additional services.
07/03/17 K Giriprakash/The Hindu Business Line