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Flights Pricing Instability

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João Pedro Resende TabordaEveryone knows that air ticket pricing has always been an almost obscure science. From the various letters that correspond to the different fares (not to be confused with flight classes!) to the most recent introduction of ancillary services, it is often difficult for travellers to understand what is included in their fare and even to know in advance what is the estimated price of their trip. Even for a travel agent at the beginning of his career, it’s difficult to understand this concept!

Currently, the price can vary so that we may have paid €50 for an economy seat and have a person seated at our side who paid €300 for the same type of fare (e.g. economy without luggage and without choosing a seat, etc.).

We all know that this is the reality of pricing evolution in air content distribution, but that does not mean that it meets travellers’ expectations.

Recently, OAG Aviation Worldwide Ltd, a company dedicated to gathering and studying data about the tourism industry, conducted a study through its app, FlightView, where it tried to understand where OTAs and travel apps can improve the traveller experience in the booking process.

It is extremely interesting to realize that the first point of improvement, with 59%, is the ability to make prices more predictable.

In other words, the main reason for frustration for travellers during the travel booking process is not the sole responsibility of the booking platform provider but the shared responsibility between it and the provider of the services being booked. I would even venture to say that most of the responsibility lies with the second, i.e., airlines.

This leads me to question to what extent this pricing model, exacerbated by the recent introduction of continuous pricing, meets customer expectations/needs. To what extent would it not be better to find a historical average value and start simplifying pricing in air content distribution?

I think it is important to question the model, especially when customers are unsatisfied with it. If the alternative is my suggestion, that’s another conversation, but it seems unanimous to me that the dice are cast. Will the actors in this process want to catch them?

Written by: João Pedro Resende Taborda

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