Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses New Basic Airline Fares

airlines, Naperville business law attorneyIt will soon be less expensive to travel on two of the nation’s largest airlines—if you are not bringing much with you and you do not care where you sit. At the end of last year, United Continental announced the introduction of a “Basic Economy” fare, a lower-priced ticket than the standard economy or coach class. Last week, American Airlines announced its own version of Basic Economy. In order to offer lower fares, both companies will be limiting the amenities available to Basic Economy passengers, including their ability to put carry-on items in the overhead bins.

As a business law attorney and a small business owner, I certainly understand the importance of trying to reach an expanded customer base. I also realize that, sometimes, changing the products and services that you offer can create confusion and uncertainty among both your customers and your staff. It is crucial to consider all of the possible impacts of such decisions so that you are not blindsided but unintended consequences.

The Business of Air Transportation

The decision by United and American to launch a new class of fares was prompted by competition from deep discount airlines like Spirit and Frontier. Of course, with lower fares comes a drastic cut in included amenities. Passengers who choose Basic Economy will only be allowed a single carry-on item that fits under the seat; they will not have access to the overhead compartments. Basic Economy passengers will also not be able to choose their seat—or even know their seat in advance. Seats will be assigned at check-in. There are also other limitations that will not affect the in-flight experience, such as the ability to change flights and reduced eligibility for passenger loyalty programs. It is possible to add amenities to a Basic Economy fare, but at a cost.

To many, the airline industry is already one of the most confusing in the transportation sector and the American economy as a whole. Thanks to the rise of travel websites and last-minute discounts, there are countless ways to purchase tickets at a seemingly endless variety of prices. You have no way of knowing that the person sitting next to you on your flight paid more than twice what you did for a ticket. In most cases, the onboard flight staff does not know that either. In fact, both United and American have indicated that it will be up to the terminal staff and agents in the airport to let Basic Economy passengers know of the associated limitations.

American is set to offer its new fares beginning next month, while United’s Basic Economy seats will be available in the second quarter of 2017. Only time will tell if flyers find that the rock-bottom prices are worth the sacrifice and uncertainty.

Seek Guidance for Your Business

While changes to your product catalog may not make national headlines, your customers must be able to rely on your company to continue meeting their needs. Before making any major decisions that could impact the trust of your clients, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney for help. Call The Gierach Law Firm at 630-756-1160 today.



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