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Frontier Wants A-La-Carte Pricing, Low-Fare Alliance


Frontier Airlines revealed it will implement a tiered fare structure as part of its bankruptcy reorganization, and that it hopes to have the new pricing in place by the end of the year. According to the Rocky Mountain Times, Frontier's fare tiers will be similar to Air Canada's existing model, which American recently announced it will emulate. Passengers will choose from several price levels, with more expensive tickets providing more services and amenities.

Frontier CEO Sean Menke also said he would like to see low-cost carriers (LCCs) form alliances as a way to grow route networks. LCCs, which have historically grown quickly, have had to scale back those growth initiatives in the face of a struggling economy (see: JetBlue). In this economic climate, Menke's suggestion is that LCCs can only maintain growth through route-sharing and cross-marketing campaigns.

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Why does this matter to you? Well, it sure sounds to me like Frontier is eager to change the game, first by dramatically altering the way passengers buy tickets, and then by implementing a broad cooperative agreement with other airlines. Alliances aren't anything new, but the idea of low-cost carriers banding together is interesting because it essentially represents an "all for one, one for all" mentality among similar but competing businesses. For passengers, a network of allied LCCs would present the opportunity to fly virtually anywhere in the country on airlines that, presumably, are cheaper than the big boys.

As for the pricing structure, well, if SmarterTravel.com readers are any indication, that's going to be a tough sell. Comments posted to the blog about American's plans were generally negative, sometimes vehemently so. But Frontier's eagerness to hop on the bandwagon signals, to me, that the industry is ready for this, so we should probably get ready, too.

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