Business travellers are facing a future with no set airfares, where the cost of “journeys” will be individually calculated by computers based on factors ranging from frequent-flyer status to discounts arranged via employers, Forbes reports.
Rather than pricing flights based on demand or distance, airlines can utilize emerging New Distribution Capability (NDC) technology to price seats for each individual traveller. The price would be calculated using factors like seat selection, checked or carried baggage, and other stated or stored travel preferences.
Ground transport and hotel accommodations may also be incorporated into the offering.
Travellers could submit their personal profile and proposed itinerary and receive offers from multiple airlines, rather than searching through lists of completing flights and prices.
Airlines “will move away from terms like ‘fare’ and ‘ticket’ and toward terms like ‘price,’ ‘journey’ and ‘experience,’” predicts travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research.
The system could deliver more profits to airlines and allow travellers to pay for exactly — and only — the services they want when they travel, experts say. But transparency will be crucial for consumers to reap the rewards of NDC.
“Some will be concerned, and will be right to be concerned, that consumers will struggle to understand what’s being offered,” Harteveldt says.
“So it will be essential for airlines to be clear and unambiguous about what’s included in each package offered so the consumer can make a fully-informed decision.”