The last decade is one of the best in history for the aviation industry. High profits for many carriers meant investment in people, product and the fleet. At the same time, many airlines removed frequent flyer perks on a gradual basis.
This is not too surprising. During bad times, adjustments were made to loyalty schemes in order to encourage more spend. Once the good times appeared to be sustained, many of these were rolled back or removed.
Will The Removed Frequent Flyer Perks Come Back?
While the jury is still out on how long the current situation will last, it is entirely possible that demand may be sluggish to return. If that becomes the case, then we may see some of the removed frequent flyer perks returned.
For example, during the Global Financial Crisis, British Airways began offering 100% bonus Avios points in the Executive Club to Silver level frequent flyers. This doubled the original 50% bonus and was offered to get people back in the air. After several years, this was rolled back when no longer needed.
Something similar happened with the private jet like British Airways flight 1 from London City to New York. Being the jewel in the crown at the airline, the all business class flight awarded passengers with first class tier points to attract people on board. That added sparkle was also taken away.
Other airlines devalued their loyalty schemes, making it more difficult to earn points or elite status. Some increased the amount of points required to redeem award flights. All of this was in response to the good times.
The aviation industry has never experienced a mass grounding like the one currently occurring. With travel bans in place in various countries right through April, it will be May or more likely June before things start ramping up again.
That will mean airlines have lost a full quarter of revenue, while still being exposed to many of the usual expenses. Getting people flying and fast will be the aim of the game. If they need to restore removed frequent flyer perks to help, they will do it.
What do you think will happen on the other side? Will airlines make things attractive for regular travellers to get them back in the air? Or will it be a case of discounting? Or nothing? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Adrian Pingstone via Wikimedia Commons.