Budget carrier Easyjet has launched a loyalty card designed for frequent passengers looking to benefit from priority check-in and boarding facilities.
Up until now customers wanting to add Speedy Boarding services to a ticket (where passengers are among the first to be called to board their flight), paid a fee of between £2.50 and £7 per flight, while Speedy Boarding Plus customers (benefiting from priority boarding and dedicated check-in facilities where available), paid between £5.50 and £9 per flight.
But now Easyjet has launched Easyjet Plus, a card giving passengers the same benefits enjoyed by Speedy Boarding Plus customers on all flights they take, for an annual fee of £100 (plus a £25 joining fee), or £75 if purchased before April 30, 2008 (the first 10,000 customers will also have their joining fee waived). There are also discounts available for colleagues, friends and family, and a child card (for those up to 18 years of age) available for £25.
Easyjet says that on average customers will start to save money with the card after five return flights with the carrier, although this depends which route you fly. Individuals paying the full £125 for their first year’s membership and using only the Speedy Boarding service at £2.50 per time would need to do 25 return flights to break even, while a couple and two children taking advantage of the introductory offers and using Speedy Boarding Plus at its highest rate, could see returns after less than two return trips.
One concern is that significantly adding to the number of Speedy Boarding customers could devalue the product, but the carrier says that to avoid this it intends to cap the product to 30 passengers per plane later this year - it says that at present well over 99 per cent of flights operate with Speedy Boarding levels that are under the future capping level. Once this cap is introduced Easyjet Plus members will be asked to enter their membership number as part of the booking process, and where necessary "the Speedy Boarding benefits of cardholders will be prioritised over ad hoc purchasers on high demand flights".
Of course the real winners will be Easyjet if it can persuade just a fraction of its customer base to pay upfront for priority services, with passenger numbers expected to be in the mid 40 millions this year.
For more information visit easyjet.com.
Report by Mark Caswell
Did you know that businesstraveller.com now has a dedicated online loyalty section? Click here to search for details of redemption discounts and bonus points on your favourite airline, hotel, car rental or alliance scheme.