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Germany's Lufthansa Group has launched a continuous pricing offering, enabling its airlines to set fares in more than the 26 buckets traditionally used.
The airline says the existing system "leads to unnecessary price jumps" and does not allow them to "offer the optimal price to answer customer demands when the optimal price lies between two booking classes."
At launch, fares are available for most European continental routes on Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines.
Continuous pricing has been enabled by the carrier's adoption of the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability.
Lufthansa said that the new fare-setting system is part of its NDC Smart Offer program and will only apply "if the customer has a price advantage."
In its documentation for the new pricing offering, Lufthansa said the technology does not identify individual customers, "but differentiate[s] between customer enquiries and search behavior." It said this means that fares are not differentiated on the basis of personal customer data, such as gender, weight, salary or place of residence, but are based solely on the general dynamic market requirements—for example, high season, day of departure/arrival, time between booking and departure.
Continuous pricing fare offers are available only via Lufthansa NDC application programming interface—specifically, Lufthansa Group airlines direct NDC API, NDC API via a certified technology provider or its Farelogix-powered SPRK agent portal—as well as the group's dot-com websites. Travel agents using a global distribution system do not have access to the new price offers, it said.
In the U.K., travel management company Click Travel this week has become one of the first companies to offer continuous pricing for all customers using its booking platform.
Robin Smith, Click Travel's chief product engineer, said: "We champion direct connections with suppliers precisely because it means we can pass benefits like these on to our customers in full and without delay. Whilst others will follow, when there is a third party involved in securing new fares such as these, the customer is paying for that service one way or another. Our customers will get the full benefit of the savings available."
Kevin Young, Lufthansa's senior key account manager, said: "Continuous pricing eliminates the high price jumps associated with traditional pricing that often impact business travelers. The new price offer, based on continuous pricing, is lower than the standard fare, which is offered in traditional distribution channels."
Originally published in BTN Europe.
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