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How can FF programmes really attract people to fly on the airline / alliance?

How can FF programmes really attract people to fly on the airline / alliance?

Old Apr 23, 19, 8:37 pm
  #1  
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How can FF programmes really attract people to fly on the airline / alliance?

I don't even have a choice on which airline I can take for my trips! It's either timing or routing which dictates which airlines one can choose, so how can FF programmes work commercially well? Unless there is serious competition on a certain route (like HKG-TPE with all three alliances offering flights all day), there is usually no choice at all!

For example, if my travel is HKG - Eastern Europe, daytime flight, then until very recently (before Finnair offers 2nd daytime flight) the only viable choice is Aeroflot; one of my upcoming travel is Helsinki - Istanbul - Hong Kong, then the only viable choice is Turkish Airline; for intra-Finland travel, the only choice is Finnair.

Once a trip becomes more complicated than a simple one-way / round-trip, there are usually not many choices left. For example, Finnair has an unbeatable advantage on my upcoming trip HKG - STO - HEL - HKG because it is the only airline which the trip can be bought on a single ticket and priced as a single round-trip, and all other options require separate ticket STO - HEL. Therefore even I am loyal to Aeroflot with status on it I ended up taking Finnair (which I don't really like) on this trip.

So how do FF programmes really work if nearly every route is a monopoly and people don't have a choice?
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Old Apr 23, 19, 9:20 pm
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
So how do FF programmes really work if nearly every route is a monopoly and people don't have a choice?
Maybe because not nearly every route is a monopoly? Most popular (read profitable) routings have multiple competitors.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 3:01 am
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
So how do FF programmes really work if nearly every route is a monopoly and people don't have a choice?
You always have a choice. It all depends on how much you want to make this work and how much are you willing to pay.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
So how do FF programmes really work if nearly every route is a monopoly and people don't have a choice?

In this situation, you would be in the FF program of the monopoly and hope they are part of an alliance where you would have a better option of using your miles.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 11:07 pm
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Sometimes it also depending on how much inconvenient (a.k.a via connecting flight) you want to play with. For example, it might be there is only one airline fly between point A and B. But you consider fly from point A to B with connection at either C, D or E, then you may have multiple choices. Sometimes the cost might be cheaper, similar or higher depending on the airlines and route. It might also take alittle longer with connection flight as compare to direct flight.

For me, some times I will purpose like pick some flight with one more connection for my business trip so that it is easier for me to add up my mileage run segment
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Old Apr 25, 19, 11:53 pm
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Originally Posted by dici View Post
Sometimes it also depending on how much inconvenient (a.k.a via connecting flight) you want to play with. For example, it might be there is only one airline fly between point A and B. But you consider fly from point A to B with connection at either C, D or E, then you may have multiple choices. Sometimes the cost might be cheaper, similar or higher depending on the airlines and route. It might also take alittle longer with connection flight as compare to direct flight.

For me, some times I will purpose like pick some flight with one more connection for my business trip so that it is easier for me to add up my mileage run segment
For example, for intra-Finland travel between Helsinki and the north of country, Finnair has an absolute monopoly in the sky. There is no choice at all unless you are willing to travel hours on land.

And your business travel doesn't make sense - business travel depends on the flight schedule more than any other kinds of travel, so you really don't have a choice but to take whatever airline flying on the time you need to go on your business trip.
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Old Apr 26, 19, 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
For example, for intra-Finland travel between Helsinki and the north of country, Finnair has an absolute monopoly in the sky. There is no choice at all unless you are willing to travel hours on land.
You do know that AY is a government-owned airline, right?

Like many government-owned airlines/companies, it is certain that AY can enjoy absolute monopoly and privileges that is not readily available to others if existed.
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Old Apr 27, 19, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
I don't even have a choice on which airline I can take for my trips! It's either timing or routing which dictates which airlines one can choose, so how can FF programmes work commercially well? Unless there is serious competition on a certain route (like HKG-TPE with all three alliances offering flights all day), there is usually no choice at all!

For example, if my travel is HKG - Eastern Europe, daytime flight, then until very recently (before Finnair offers 2nd daytime flight) the only viable choice is Aeroflot; one of my upcoming travel is Helsinki - Istanbul - Hong Kong, then the only viable choice is Turkish Airline; for intra-Finland travel, the only choice is Finnair.

Once a trip becomes more complicated than a simple one-way / round-trip, there are usually not many choices left. For example, Finnair has an unbeatable advantage on my upcoming trip HKG - STO - HEL - HKG because it is the only airline which the trip can be bought on a single ticket and priced as a single round-trip, and all other options require separate ticket STO - HEL. Therefore even I am loyal to Aeroflot with status on it I ended up taking Finnair (which I don't really like) on this trip.

So how do FF programmes really work if nearly every route is a monopoly and people don't have a choice?
FF programs were born in he USA, where there is lots of competition (as long as you live near a big-enough city), and where most of the flying is domestic.

Once FF programs existed, every airline around the world seemed to think it needed one, but they don't work as well on airlines that are the only airline in a given country as they do in countries where there are lots of airline competing.

So how FF programs attract people to one airline/alliance depends a lot on where you're based. It's understandable that it won't work as well for someone based in a place like HKG (which AFAIK has no domestic flights at all) as for someone based in a major city in the USA.
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Old Apr 27, 19, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
FF programs were born in he USA, where there is lots of competition (as long as you live near a big-enough city), and where most of the flying is domestic.

Once FF programs existed, every airline around the world seemed to think it needed one, but they don't work as well on airlines that are the only airline in a given country as they do in countries where there are lots of airline competing.

So how FF programs attract people to one airline/alliance depends a lot on where you're based. It's understandable that it won't work as well for someone based in a place like HKG (which AFAIK has no domestic flights at all) as for someone based in a major city in the USA.
HKG-based CX's Asia Miles used to be way better for me than AA's program was. It was only after CX's Asia Miles became pointless to me that AA's miles became nearly as pointless for me in impacting my air travel purchase decisions.

FFPs seemed designed for attracting and retaining traffic that would connect and/or that would originate/terminate at a destination with more than one option.

Last edited by GUWonder; Apr 27, 19 at 11:19 am
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Old Apr 27, 19, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
And your business travel doesn't make sense - business travel depends on the flight schedule more than any other kinds of travel, so you really don't have a choice but to take whatever airline flying on the time you need to go on your business trip.
You seem to be assuming that everyone thinks like you. It's true that there are certainly many, many business travelers that only fly nonstop (when available). But, other people will purposely take a connecting flight if it means earning elite-level status. Someone like dici will weigh the costs of connecting (mostly just extra time) with the benefits gained (i.e. potential upgrades) by flying those extra segments.

Also, you're also assuming that every business operates in the same mindset. It's true that sometimes it's absolutely critical to get an employee from point A to point B as quickly as possible. But, sometimes it doesn't matter if the traveler arrives on the nonstop flight 6pm or via a connecting flight around 8pm. If that connecting flight is hundreds of dollars less, many companies will opt to save money.
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Old Apr 27, 19, 11:48 pm
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
For example, for intra-Finland travel between Helsinki and the north of country, Finnair has an absolute monopoly in the sky. There is no choice at all unless you are willing to travel hours on land.

And your business travel doesn't make sense - business travel depends on the flight schedule more than any other kinds of travel, so you really don't have a choice but to take whatever airline flying on the time you need to go on your business trip.
For many of us who work in academic and without the high ranking status (high ranking defined by President, Provost, Dean and Head of Department), our business travel always limited by budget (due to regulation) instead of time. It is definitely that we had depart and arrive by a specific time frame, however, most of the time the direct flight may not equivalent to the most cost effective travel method. I have quite a number of that time our corporate air fare provided by SQ cost about 70% of our budget limit, so usually I tried to avoid it.

Since we had to do these planning by our own on each business trip, usually I just use matrix itasoftware or google flight to search for those interesting route that meet the requirement, then pass those to our appointed travel agent to settle.
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Old Apr 30, 19, 12:51 pm
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FFPs as we know them today we started very shortly after U.S. deregulation of fares/routes in 1978. Prior to that, fliers were pretty much locked to the carrier that owned "their" route. In the early 80's, the thought was that the programs could attract business travelers who were, for the first time ever, making an actual choice between two or more carriers. The concept of using miles - as opposed to points based on the airfares - was conceived partly to avoid the appearance that the programs were a direct kickback to the fliers. Employees could decide which airline to fly, the company or client would pay the bill, and the employee (passenger) never took possession of a tangible asset. As such, FFPs quickly became a normal thing without too many questions about the ethics of receiving miles as part of travel.

In those days, I absolutely think they worked. They solidified my initial allegiance to AA when I first started flying for business. I had 5 regular destinations. 3 were AA nonstops. The other two would have been a UA nonstop and a NW nonstop, but I flew them as connections on AA because of AAdvantage. I was required to be fare-conscious, so to justify flying AA I'd occasionally have to fly some odd times, but I almost always made it work with the connecting fare in the same ballpark as the nonstop fare.

If I were starting out today, my own math might be a little different because the programs are so much less rewarding than they once were. How much the programs affected my travel decision would depend somewhat on what my paid class of service is, whether choices affect the elite tiers I could achieve, and the prevalence of nonstop flights (I place a much higher value on my time today than I did back then!). The raw value of the miles themselves is such a tiny fraction of what it was that the RDMs wouldn't be a huge driver for me.
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Old May 2, 19, 1:01 pm
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Another thing that changed a lot in the early days, and may be very different today in one part of the world than another, is how people get miles.

At that start (and maybe come places still in the world today?) the main way was through flying.

But these days in the USA and at least some other places, some people earn many more miles on the ground the credit cards, hotel stays, car rentals, shopping malls, dining programs, etc, etc, etc. As so the meaning of the term frequent "flyer" program has changed so much that maybe the name should be change to "frequent flyer currency collector"?

And how likely you are to be loyal may depend on whether you can get high enough elite status to give you perks that you consider worthwhile. I prefer AA for paid domestic flights because I have Lifetime AA Platinum status (back from the days when AA gave lifetime status based on miles from all sources, not just from flying), which gives me free access at booking time to extra legroom seats (which I value as a tallish person). UA might be my second preference because I have Marriott Lifetime Titanium status (since I stay at hotels way more than I fly), and then in turn gives me recurring United Silver annual status, which gives me free access at check-in time to extra legroom seats. Alaska used to be my second preference when they honored AA's elite status, but now that they've dropped i, it ends up in third place, because I have to pay for extra legroom seats there. And Delta is in fourth place because I have to pay to be in the separate extra legroom cabin there (which costs more than extra legroom seats in the regular coach cabin on other airlines).

On the other hand, I always travel carry-on-only, so I don't care whether I get free checked bags or not.

My longhaul overseas flights tends to be award tickets in business class, which gives me lounge access no matter what the program. So although my AA Plat gives me lounge access in the oneworld alliance on days when flying internationally, that isn't much of a motivating factor since I don't usually need that as a status benefit.

But as you can see, this is very specific to me. A person who doesn't care that much about extra legroom seats would choose differently. A person who does check bags might choose differently. A person who wasn't around in the "good ole days" to lock in lifetime status at an airline without flying millions of actual miles might choose differently. A person who flies on a lot on business (I pretty much never do) might choose differently. So everyone is different.
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Old May 3, 19, 4:59 pm
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So this entire hypothesis is based on someone talking about one base and a couple of routes? I do suppose that if one only flew HKG-HEL, then one would be stuck with a monopoly, and if doing so frequently would probably be one of less than 100 people in the World who did so! If one was doing the same HKG-IST on an O/D basis, from my own experience, one would be one of perhaps only 30 people on a full 777 doing so..................because you would find that if one were flying HKG-MUC for example, one would be flying possibly HKG-MUC with LH or CX, or flying it with TK or AY as well, or a host of other carriers (such as Aeroflot as cited).
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