Want an elite airport experience but don't travel enough to qualify for elite status? Don't have the airline's high-priced credit card, the one that comes bundled with such perks as first-class check-in and priority boarding?
US Airways has you covered with its new PreferredAccess service.
Beginning at $10 per flight, US Airways customers can purchase a package of perks that includes the following:
- Priority Check-in: dedicated lanes at airport ticket counters for service and checked bags.
- Priority Security Lane Access: dedicated airport security checkpoint lanes, where available.
- Priority Boarding: Zone one boarding, after Envoy and First Class passengers and Dividend Miles Preferred members, at all airports and in dedicated boarding lanes, where available. Currently, US Airways offers PreferredAccess boarding lanes at "most gates in 21 cities."
How you feel about PreferredAccess is likely to depend on your US Airways status. If you're an occasional customer, with no elite status and no US Airways Premier World MasterCard in your wallet, it's a welcome democratization of the travel experience, albeit at a price. If you're already a US Airways elite flyer, or if you already carry their perks-rich credit card, you're more apt to be dreading the increased competition for priority services.
US Airways must balance the extra revenue generated by PreferredAccess against the potential loss of revenue from elite members' frustration and disengagement from Dividend Miles. The more people given access to special benefits, the less special those benefits become.
Or to put it another way, if US Airways makes priority access available to too many flyers, it will be quicker (and cheaper) to simply use the non-priority lines.
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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