Regardless of cabin I bet you care about the fare you paid and what comes with it. When you buy a car you get to choose a few things. Though some may dream of a pink car with furry seats, my tastes differ (only slightly of course). Similarly, when it comes to flying, my preferences aren’t always in unison with my fellow fliers, we all have our ideas. Like it or not, and there are cases for both, customization in the form of “unbundling” is the new and expanding “pink car” in the airline world.
Unbundling is the separation and customization of your airline ticket, a true “you get what you pay for” experience. The most common examples thus far have originated from discount carriers allowing you to unbundle things like checked bags, seat assignments and more to allow those with specific needs, or lack there of to save. Unbundling is wonderful and terrible. Airfare’s on the whole have gone up year over year while the “bundled”, built in assets such as baggage allowances, meals and seat assignments have disappeared. In this sense I would say that unbundling is a bastardly way for airlines to charge more for what you used to get for free. On the other hand discounters (and all airlines in reality) have the ability to allow passengers to custom tailor their trips adding or subtracting one off services like “priority screening”, lounge access, “premium” seats and of course…bags. For a backpacker with no bags and no desire to pick the human that sits next to them (and their smelly armpits), unbundling is a tremendous way to save what can be hundreds on a ticket for things they don’t use or need.
The kicker is that there is talk of unbundling expanding across all travel classes creating subsets of the already subdivided cabins. I would argue that a major advantage of business and first class which help justify the added cost or extra miles versus flying coach comes in the form of separate (peaceful) check in, fast track security, lounge access with complimentary food and (alcoholic) beverages and finally, of course, the seat and on board service. Though likely not for me, the concept of “just the seat” business class with no airport amenities is intriguing at the right price. The idea of making the current givens and perks into “extra’s” is a bit terrifying and seemingly an invitation to open pandoras box. I can just see the marketing titles coming along “Absolutely No Frills Economy”, “Sit Down and Shut Up Business Class”, “Fly Through The Airport But Receive No Meal First”. What’s not to like?
How Do YOU feel about unbundling? Fascinating topic…..
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