Monday, December 22, 2014

Major Airline Changes Reported for 2015

As vacationers, many of us are all-too-familiar with air travel. Oftentimes, it's a love-hate relationship; we love the speed by which a plane can deliver us to our destination, but few travelers find the journey itself pleasant. Between crowded airports, ever-changing air rates and typically FlyersRights.org, an organization dedicated to protecting consumers of air travel.
uncomfortable seating in the plane, it makes sense that air travel can be a bit of a pain - and things are about to change quite a bit in 2015 according to

This year, both Delta and United Airlines have announced changes to revamp their mileage programs to reward miles based off the amount spent rather than the actual distance flown. For many flyers just taking the average vacation, this can result in a significant devaluation of miles. While no other announcements have surfaced yet, other major airlines can be expected to follow suit. The new consensus seems to be that miles are effectively irrelevant when considering your airline choice - shop by price and consider non-US carriers when possible. 

FlyersRights also announced that American Airlines plans to spend nearly two billion dollars put towards product improvements on planes. These improvements are intended to improve the flight experience of first and business class passengers, including the implementation of fully lie-flat seats. Some fear, however, that these changes will come at the expense of standard flyers in the rest of plane. To be fair, however, American Airlines also announced changes that will benefit the entire plane, such as improved Wi-Fi and power outlets in every row.

Free bags are also becoming a relic of the past. JetBlue recently quit offering free checked bags, leaving Southwest as the lone carrier that still does. At first blush, many might be inclined to choose Southwest under the assumption that the free checked bag represents a better deal. Compare fees before purchasing tickets; even with that free bag, Southwest's fees might be the same or more than a competitor with lower ticket prices and a separate bag charge.

Flyers of American carriers are also advised to keep their eyes out for holiday surcharges. While many European airlines are notorious for seasonal surcharges, it's a trend that's largely been absent in the states until Spirit announced $2.00 surcharges for each bag checked on Christmas or New Year's day. Whether other carriers intend to follow suit is not yet known.

If planes already felt a bit claustrophobic for you, get ready for an even tighter squeeze. Many of the big-name carriers are overhauling planes and pulling out the big, bulky seats in favor of newer "slimline" models. These models and their slighter profiles would allow for planes to house an extra five to six seats from front to back. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of consumer legroom.

Finally, Delta announced the debut of a new class - Basic Economy. Basic Economy is a bare-bones class choice that sacrifices flexibility to lower prices. Basic Economy will not allow for ticket changes, seat assignments or upgrades. This represents an interesting change - will consumers be willing to accept the limitations of Basic Economy to secure a lower price?

What do these changes mean for you? Will you alter your travel plans in light of these changes? Let us know! For more up-to-date information on goings-on in the air travel industry, we recommending checking out FlyersRights directly!

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