“Econo (Lowest)” fare: the name is awful

Old Oct 7, 18, 10:40 am
  #1  
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“Econo (Lowest)” fare: the name is awful

When WestJet first introduced their ultra-restricted basic fare, I thought the naming was odd. “Econo (Lowest)” sounds almost identical to, well, “Econo”. And there’s really nothing in the name to clearly warn buyers.

If if you buy it on WestJet’s website, you have to accept the terms and conditions for the fare. But that’s really more of a CYA thing for WestJet. Face it. When buying online, most people just click through the T&Cs and pop-ups without actually paying attention.

I keep an eye on Westjet on Facebook and Twitter, simply out of interest. Now that Econo (Lowest) is so widespread, one of the common themes is ... anger from WestJet customers when they try to pay for a change or when they try to select seats. “What the &[email protected]% do you mean I can’t pay you more money to make a change” is now a very common question.

It’s not a mistake that any Flyertalkers would make — we get this stuff. But I can totally see how the average traveler could get confused by this. Econo (Lowest) versus Econo. It’s hardly clear that there’s a big difference.

Other airlines help to differentiate by defaulting to the lowest “non-basic” fare in their online purchase process. (They show the basic option, but default to the lowest non-basic.) Others, like United, let you select whether to exclude basic fares from your search results at all. And I’ve seen one (Delta, I think?) where selecting basic leads to an up sell offer that really, really clearly highlights the difference, and shows the exact cost difference. All good stuff.

But it starts with the name. Econo (Lowest) vs Econo? Bloody confusing for most.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 11:25 am
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AC calls it basic. I'm sure they will rebrand if they run into trouble. But when you buy it, it flashes warnings on the website.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 1:48 pm
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If I was booking a ticket from a normal perspective, I would assume that a difference exists between Econo and Econo (Lowest) and the popup does a very good job explaining the aspects that are different. Would another name be helpful? Probably. Is the current method very confusing? No, it's clear enough and laid out.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 3:15 pm
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Perhaps the complainers on twitter and Facebook are the ones clicking that they have read and understand the conditions and terms and restrictions, but they haven’t actually read the thing. It’s similar to the ones who end up in emergency exit row who are wearing a cast or can’t undersfand English/French and need to be relocated. I bet they just clicked that they meet the seating requirements without reading the pop up screen.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 4:41 pm
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My issue with the name is that it really just makes it sound like you're buying the least expensive "Econo" fare. The word "lowest" in the consumer's mind is a positive ... an advantage. There's nothing clear (or implied) in the name that you're making a big trade-off in order to get that.

Sure, the website gives a bunch of terms and conditions around the fare. The info is there, and it's presented clearly. So caveat emptor, I suppose.

But I do think it's legitimately confusing for the average traveller. And when WestJet is fighting tooth-and-nail to grow in a tough business, being able to say "duh, we tried to warn you when you bought" isn't a great way to keep customers coming back.

Their naming convention seems kinda like if you were to book a room in a hotel and were shown three options:
Option A: Executive suite
Option B: Standard room w 1 king bed
Option C: Standard room w 1 king bed (Least Expensive)

... you'd probably assume the two 'standard room' products were the same, but option C is that room at the lowest price. We all would. The naming makes it sound like option C is actually advantageous over option B ... the same product, but at the best price. But imagine your surprise when you check in and find out that your Option C room doesn't have a TV, a phone, soap or toilet paper. And then be told it's your own fault for booking it, because you should have read the fine print on the website.

I know that WestJet's terms and conditions are pretty clearly presented on the website when booking. But, as I said, how many people actually read those T&Cs whenever they pop up? (To be honest, when I'm shopping online I routinely click through all of the "Agree" and "OK" pop up buttons online without reading. Except for airfares, simply because I'm an air travel geek who know better.) Sure, WestJet is covered if anyone wants to complain about it, because the warnings about that fare certainly are there. But - given that some buyers undoubtedly won't review them (or perhaps even understand what they're not getting) - it's just not very customer-friendly. It's really not good enough for WestJet to simply have covered their rears by having a pop up window -- they need to improve their customer understanding about what they're buying. And WestJet being "right" is not necessarily the same as making customers not feel like they've been duped.

I really think the WestJet naming convention isn't that far off from my hotel example above.

After all the product (i.e. "Econo") is in the name, so you're buying an Econo fare, right? It's just an Econo fare at the "(Lowest)" price. Woohoo! That's the name, after all. The thing is, the features are nothing like an Econo fare. It's the same seating area on the plane as Econo fares (and Flex fares, too) but that's where the similarity with Econo ends. Econo and Econo (Lowest) are apples and oranges. So why give them such similar brands?

So, just don't call it Econo. Different product, so different name.

Or, if they really want to call it "Econo", then call it something more descriptive like "Econo (Restricted)" rather than the seemingly better "Econo (Lowest)".
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Old Oct 7, 18, 9:52 pm
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How about "Econo (Not changeable)" ?
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Old Oct 7, 18, 10:16 pm
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Originally Posted by YYCguy View Post
Perhaps the complainers on twitter and Facebook are the ones clicking that they have read and understand the conditions and terms and restrictions, but they haven’t actually read the thing. It’s similar to the ones who end up in emergency exit row who are wearing a cast or can’t undersfand English/French and need to be relocated. I bet they just clicked that they meet the seating requirements without reading the pop up screen.
More likely they are buying through a different channel, e.g. Expedia etc. I would go for the name Ecno-Restricted. They could also try Econo-Ultra-Restricted. However there marketing team may not like the second.
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Old Oct 8, 18, 7:58 am
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[QUOTE=YYCguy;30289222]Perhaps the complainers on twitter and Facebook are the ones clicking that they have read and understand the conditions and terms and restrictions, but they haven’t actually read the thing.

Does anybody really read ALL the terms and conditions, especially when they are designed not to be read (copious numbers of pages of legal mumbo jumbo)
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Old Oct 8, 18, 6:49 pm
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"We want to sell you Basic Economy but not call it Basic Economy"
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Old Oct 9, 18, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by YYCguy View Post
Perhaps the complainers on twitter and Facebook are the ones clicking that they have read and understand the conditions and terms and restrictions, but they haven’t actually read the thing. It’s similar to the ones who end up in emergency exit row who are wearing a cast or can’t undersfand English/French and need to be relocated. I bet they just clicked that they meet the seating requirements without reading the pop up screen.
Agree and while I understand what OP is saying there's always going to be a certain percentage of consumers who don't pay enough attention at the right time regardless of what the fare type is called and then complain about it after. Caveat emptor. Just MHO.
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Old Oct 9, 18, 6:51 pm
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I agree with tcook52.

Mrs KDS777 and I just booked some econo tickets on WS (YYC-YVR mind you) and the warning about your restrictions are quite obvious and very clear. I was actually pleased to see it displayed as such.

If you are lazy and/or click crazy it's not their fault. I doubt calling it anything else will matter statistically speaking.
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Last edited by KDS777; Oct 15, 18 at 10:56 am
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Old Oct 10, 18, 10:51 pm
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​​​​​Changing the name of the fare to something more descriptive, clearer, and better differentiated from regular “Econo” is:
- virtually free
- easy to do

So if it prevents customer confusion (and thereby makes for a better customer experience) - even if it’s just a portion of customers - why not do it?

What’s the downside to a small and easy step that makes the fare choice easier to understand?

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Old Oct 11, 18, 11:14 am
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WestJet has renamed them all now:

Basic
Econo
EconoFlex

Plus has been renamed Premium

Premium
PremiumFlex

787s will have

Business
BusinessFlex
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Old Oct 11, 18, 11:16 am
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Originally Posted by deskcaptain View Post
WestJet has renamed them all now:

Basic
Econo
EconoFlex

Plus has been renamed Premium

Premium
PremiumFlex

787s will have

Business
BusinessFlex
Way to kill a thread deskcaptain!
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Old Oct 12, 18, 12:20 pm
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Wow! Clearly this short-lived thread changed it all, within just a few days. The power of FT! (Ha!)

Not only has the name been changed, they’ve also made the ‘fine print’ that much more clear and obvious. Good job WestJet folks.
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