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The Beat Letters: On Airline Unbundling

Regarding airline unbundling, I predict that in a few years, maybe after I am gone, a smart airline excutive will look at a typical branding output and say to his staff, "We need to tell our customers that we think charging for essentials of a comfortable trip should be included. Henceforth, jetBlue will tell the world that all things comfortable to travelers are included in one price," and all airlines will get in line to follow suit. I don't agree that air travel needs to be a commodity, or that unbundling services to gouge customers is a progressive strategy.

A better strategy: Offer full-service with fare guarantees for advance booking; offer corporations multiple trip discounts on popular segements if purchased in advance. Give fare breaks on traditionally slower demand days if booked in advance.

~ Travel Management & Marketing Consultancy president Rolfe R. Shellenberger