Millennials are shaping the airline world by moving into leadership positions at airlines all over the world. Patrick Quayle, the current vice president for international planning at United Airlines, was inspired to push for a new three-times-weekly route between Newark and Cape Town after visiting South Africa a few years ago. Quayle is actually just beyond the cutoff for qualifying as a millennial. However, his sensibilities reflect a new trend in air travel that is focused on offering itineraries for millennial travelers that include unique destinations. That means that popular destinations like Rome, London and Paris may soon be getting less attention from major carriers in favor of routes that bring people to off-the-map fishing villages or hidden ski towns.
Millennials will eventually be running the show, and Patrick Quayle knows that routes should be attractive to all travelers. That’s one of the reasons why he played a big role in adding a flight from San Francisco to a destination called Papeete in Tahiti last year. The route was designed to attract travelers who actually want to go one step beyond a Hawaiian vacation. New routes to Tel Aviv and Auckland were also introduced. Those routes are strategic because they can serve both business travelers and people looking for gateway routes that will help them get to more exotic locations.
Most people assume that millennials are only interested in scoring budget tickets. However, the reality is that major carriers would be foolish to overlook the millennial market. Many millennials are approaching 40 and have been in the workforce for several years. That means that many are running companies, holding prestigious positions and pulling in big salaries by this point. It also means that many of them are ready to explore the world after spending years establishing their careers and putting money into homes. Major carriers are finally ready to bet on the fact that travelers in their late 30s will be willing to dish out a little bit more money for better tickets if it means they don’t have to deal with cramped seats and bare-bones accommodations. That’s one of the reasons why you’re going to begin seeing more premium-economy options popping up from carriers around the world.
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