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Even Worse Threat to Bus Class Award/UG Avails

Even Worse Threat to Bus Class Award/UG Avails

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Old Aug 17, 03, 12:08 am
  #1  
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Even Worse Threat to Bus Class Award/UG Avails

It's challenging enough to have to figure out the byzantine workings of each of the airlines/FFP 'inventory management' and/or 'capacity contols' when trying to hunt down a Business or First Class seat.

But, I have been made aware recently that the airlines are actually selling Business Class seats to CONSOLIDATORS, which even further restricts the already limited availability of J(maybe F too?) seats.

For Coach seats, I understand that airlines hedge their bets by selling blocks of seats to consolidators. Since the coach cabin represents 85-95% of the total cabin, I don't suppose consolidators make a very big dent in award redemptions in Coach.

But, with J/F class representing on average under 10% of each airplane's inventory, when an airline sells such seats to consolidators, that truly handicaps award redemption availability, especially when we are already handicapped by 'capacity control' policies by the airlines.

I don't begrudge the airlines pursuing aggressive strategies to return to profitability. Consolidators clearly have a role to play in that process.

But letting consolidators encroach into the hallowed territory of J seats seems to have left FFP members in the double whammy situation of restricted access to J awards/UGS due to 'capacity controls' AND consolidators straining the supply of J seats.

Since its FFPs elite members that primarily have enough status and/or miles to qualify for awards/UGs in the J cabin, is it reasonable to strongly suggest to the airlines that they eliminate or at least moderate the amount of consolidator access to the Business Class inventory?

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Old Aug 17, 03, 9:12 am
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I could not agree more. The airlines have now even begun to sell first class seats to consolidators....
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Old Aug 17, 03, 11:00 am
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I imagine airlines make more from selling the seats to consolidators than they do to elites upgrading from mid- to low-tier economy class fares.

And, of course, they get nothing from award seat "sales".

Mind you, I completely understand that, as elites, we earned that status through consistent revenue generation (high, mid, and/or low, but consistent) and one of the reasons many of us (especially us leisure travellers) do this is for those upgrades and award tickets.

But a lot of these airlines literally may not be long for the world. If I have to forgo a Business Class or First Class seat via upgrade or award for one year so the airline will stay in business and recover for future year redemptions, I can live with it.

And consolidator fares can be inexpensive enough to warrant an outright purchase of the seat.
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Old Aug 17, 03, 11:31 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by beaubo:
I have been made aware recently that the airlines are actually selling Business Class seats to CONSOLIDATORS</font>
So how long has this been going on? (In London, for at least 10 years now, IIRC.)
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Old Aug 17, 03, 1:07 pm
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I've bought my biz seats from consolidators many times. It's been going on for years.

For those of us people who sometimes PAYS for our biz seats, the consolidators are a godsend!
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Old Aug 17, 03, 1:32 pm
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So if the consolidator buys seats, but the FC cabin stays almost empty (as I have recently seen),
does the airline get revenue for an empty seat?

Or am I mistaken? (Maybe the consolidator has seat availability, and only pays when you make
a purchase? But, I don't think so.)

So if the airline gets consolidator revenue for some empty seats, can't they release these seats
for upgrades and walk-up fares within some time period before the flight? This way we could
'have our cake and eat it too'.
.
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Old Aug 17, 03, 3:24 pm
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I'd like to redeemn my miles for upgrades.

However, if I can buy a $3,000 one-way business class seat to Asia for $1100 one-way from a consolidator, I'll cheerfully take it! (True story.)

In addition, for the consolidator business class tickets that I purchased in the past, I earned the business class bonuses.

The problem is finding those consolidators. I spent more than 40+ hours surfing the net for consolidators before.

- Pat
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Old Aug 19, 03, 12:37 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Wiirachay:
I'd like to redeemn my miles for upgrades.

However, if I can buy a $3,000 one-way business class seat to Asia for $1100 one-way from a consolidator, I'll cheerfully take it! (True story.)

In addition, for the consolidator business class tickets that I purchased in the past, I earned the business class bonuses.

The problem is finding those consolidators. I spent more than 40+ hours surfing the net for consolidators before.

- Pat
</font>
Call a travel agent they have access to many consolidators. Many travel agents have focused on selling consolidator fares, since airlines no longer pay commissions. Travel agents via consolidators will save you thousands and the make a reasonable commission in the process. Check them out, it won't cost anything to price them. Good luck.
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Old Aug 19, 03, 12:55 am
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I don't see what the problem is.

I agree with IJK; if the airlines can sell the seats to consolidators, for real money, that's a good thing.

Airlines only release J and F seats for upgrades and award seats that they figure they can't sell anyway - so it's not like sales to consolidators are really reducing the capacity for upgrades or award seats.

And if the consolidator can't fill the seat - then the airline gets some money AND some poor bloke may still get to upgrade at the last minute. Who loses from that (other than the incompetent consolidator)??

Like I said - I don't see a problem here.

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Old Aug 19, 03, 1:11 am
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A small amount of consolidator sales seems fine. Airlines have for long sold fares cheaply in select markets (CAI, BKK, CMB, etc.) to meet local market needs. Consolidator relationships (even if for Biz/First) are just another aspect of this. I for one am OK as long as this does not take too much away from loyal customers in other markets or market segments.

I guess the real problem is using consolidators indiscriminately without regarding to brand or award availability. If miles simply become tools to sell coach seats and not premium seats a lot of high paying elites will have to switch their dollars.

I am getting quite sanguine these days. If major airlines cheapen F/J product or make it inaccessible to FFers, I believe the Jetblues and VSes of this world will fill the space. Maybe it will take another 10 years and a different startup but there will be someone who will go after this segment.
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Old Aug 19, 03, 2:40 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FWAAA:
I don't see what the problem is.

I agree with IJK; if the airlines can sell the seats to consolidators, for real money, that's a good thing.

Airlines only release J and F seats for upgrades and award seats that they figure they can't sell anyway - so it's not like sales to consolidators are really reducing the capacity for upgrades or award seats.

</font>

Unless the seat sold to a consolidator remains 'sold' and it can't be released for any purpose,
or, if the consolidator only pays for the seat if and when they sell the seat (I don't think so,
but everything's possible.


As long as the considator pays for his unsold seat, AND the airline can put someone in that seat,
then we can have the best of both worlds. But is this all true?

How does the airline know that the consolidator sold or did not sell a seat? It may have to
wait until boarding time to release the seat, just as if the airline had sold the seat to their
own passenger (who did not show up in time).

So any empty consolidator seats may be only useful for standby's (or upgrade standby's),
because of the short time before closing the cabin door. No 24 or 72 hour windows here.

And this is even if the sold seat can be filled by anyone other than the consolidator.
Does anyone know the answer for this case?
.
.

[This message has been edited by IJK (edited 08-19-2003).]
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