BA To Bring Less-Restricted Pricing To Europe, U.S Carriers Say Stay Tuned
New York - British Airways chairman Lord Colin Marshall yesterday told Business Travel News the airline within 60 days will extend to Europe its U.K. pricing that does away with Saturday night stays. The carrier about two weeks ago ended Saturday night stay and advance purchase restrictions on domestic flights from London, offering a savings of up to 70 percent on some journeys.
BA followed by 10 days a similar move in the United States by America West Airlines. The Saturday night rule is the main yield-management fence designed to keep business travelers from accessing cheaper fares.
"Businesses are starting to travel again, but they're not back to August levels," said BA general manager of distribution Chris Vukelich, speaking separately yesterday at a Universal Air Travel Plan conference in Washington, D.C. "Load factors are up, but yields still are a concern. Our U.K. fare package addresses the growth of low-cost carriers, which has been phenomenal. They're all over the place."
In the United States, "we've had low-cost carriers for years," said United Airlines director of receivables and customer support Marc Krohn, also at the UATP event. What's new, United president Rono Dutta has said, is that business travelers are taking the lower fares with restrictions. "The industry has not had something like this before, so we're all trying to figure out how to deal with it," Krohn added.
American Airlines chairman Don Carty acknowledged the current pricing design is under review. "The fact is, we do need to rethink the way we do business in a whole variety of ways, and fares might be one piece of it," Carty said in an interview earlier this week with Business Travel News. "I think we have built in, not only to the fare system but to a lot of what we do, more complexity than we need."