(Page 2 of 2)
"We want to get back to a point where people feel like travel isn't something to endure, but something they can enjoy," says Bob Kupbens, Delta's current vice president of marketing and digital commerce.
Most passengers select flights based on the lowest base fare. The online travel industry plays up that price sensitivity with sites named CheapOair.com, CheapTickets.com and InsanelyCheapFlights.com.
When airlines try to raise fares, they are met with resistance.
"Customers are very quick to either change travel plans, or use another carrier or not travel at all," says Jim Corridore, an airline analyst with Standard & Poor's Capital IQ.
In the past three years, airlines have tried to hike fares 48 times, according to FareCompare.com. During 29 of those attempts, bookings fell enough that airlines abandoned the increase.
Airlines are also starting to bundle items. Passengers purchase items they might not necessarily buy alone; it also simplifies the dizzying array of offers.
"I don't want you to have to do the math every time," says Rick Elieson, managing director of digital marketing at American Airlines.
American offers a package for $68 roundtrip that includes no change fees, one checked bag and early boarding. Delta is experimenting with a $199 subscription that includes a checked bag, early boarding, access to exit row seats and extra frequent flier miles on all flights a passenger takes between now and Jan. 5.
© 2013 Associated Press under contract with YellowBrix. All rights reserved.