09 November 2007

Southwest goes all corporate

"Exciting Changes at Southwest Airlines!" screams the headline of the WN Email blast to some its customers this week announcing some new corporate initiatives. Still fumbling for a new strategy Southwest continues to push towards the corporate market. (Now being copied by Easyjet).

The highlights from the WN mail are as follows:

Enhanced Boarding – Now when you check in you’ll be assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and a position within that group (ex: A32) so there’s no need to wait in line. Simply board the plane when your group is called and find your favorite seat.
The Rapid Rewards A-List – Just fly 16 roundtrips in 12 months and we’ll put you on our A-List where we’ll reserve you the best boarding pass available on all your flights for an entire year, which means you’ll most likely get an A boarding pass.Log into your MySouthwest® account on southwest.com tomorrow to see how close you are to making it on the A-List. Members who qualify for the A-List as of November 8, 2007, will be receiving notification either by postal mail or e-mail within 3 to 5 days.
Freedom Awards – You can now convert two Standard Awards into one Freedom Award. With the exception of a few blackout dates, Freedom Awards are not subject to seat restrictions on Southwest Airlines flights, so if a seat’s available, it’s yours!
Business Select – When you purchase this new fare, you can guarantee that you’ll be among the first to board, and you’ll also get extra Rapid Rewards credit and a free drink to boot!
Simplified Fare Choices – Our fare choices are now even simpler! We’ve done the shopping for you, so it’s easy to find the perfect fare to meet all your travel needs.
Updated Gate Areas – We’re redesigning our gate areas to give you a more comfortable and productive space that will include comfy seats, power stations, a family area in which to enjoy those preflight moments!

Clearly this is the fork in the road for WN and its protege Ryanair.



UK Agencies push back on Easyjet Fees

Easyjet's decision to participate in Amadeus andGalileo is meeting resistance from the very people it is suposed to benefit - the TMCs. The fees are (well in our opinion) astronomically high. So too it would appear thinks HRG's Chief ripped the fees and said his company will just have to provide a work around for the carrier access.

So why the high fees? Well the GDSs are not willing to compromise on certain issues - such as the additional fees of pricing (e.g. Amadeus's master pricer/value pricer series products). So the fees have been loaded up to the point where it is not really attractive.

I dont think that there is going to be much take up of this - Easyjet is actually targeting the Corporations not the Agencies (as much) with this announcement. Either way there is going to be trouble and even some unpleasantness.

What do you think?

Let me know

Post comment or timothyo@t2impact.com

07 November 2007

Its Official! EasyJet is not a Full Blown HVC

Throwing out the pure LCC (Low Cost Carrier) model in favor of the HVC (Hybrid Value Carrier) has been on the cards for some time for Stelios's Orange clad heros. Now they big step, they have agreed to go into the GDS - Amadeus and Galileo for sure. Given their reach these make sense. (Sorry Tex!)

Using the model developed for Norwegian Air Shuttle, the GDS will be charging out a fee for this "service" This fee will be listed in the final pricing.


So GOOD for Easyjet - they needed to do this for the broader reach. This gives them what they want and at a model that makes sense

VERY RISKY for Amadeus and Travelport. I believe this is a short sighted decision and will ultimately result in many conventional carriers adopting the model. However so far Amadeus has proved adept at surfing over this issue. However the number of Masterpricer transactions will be a big sticking point. I would love to have listened to that conversation. I doubt that Easyjet had good advice on this subject.

SIGH OF RELIEF for the travel agents - they now have less competition but more work and more cost

NEUTRAL for corporations - not sure its a benefit though - its more paper/processing work

BAD for LCC scanning vendors. But not that bad since Ryanair is not going to follow suit.

GREAT for Ryanair.They wasted no time in crowing over this one. Read the great press release:

For the other competition, expect Air Berlin however and several others (eg German Wings) to follow suit.

05 November 2007

Diller splits up IAC again - Only Match, Ask and Citysearch are left

Diller has decided he needs a few pennies. So he is spinning out 4 of the remaining businesses in IAC (InterActive Corp). So far the Travel businesses (except Timeshare) are all out as Expedia. Soon to follow are:

Moneytree (Lending)
HSN - Home Shopping Network
Interval International

This will leave the rump with just 3 players - Match.com, Ask.com (Search) and Citysearch.

Many of these players are now mature enough to stand on their own and return some value to Mr Diller and crew.