The FAA says it helps more than 44,000 flights a day in the United States. That adds up to 2.7 million passengers a day. Flying remains popular, even though it’s not always fun.
Yet there’s a reason for just about everything the airlines industry does nowadays. Every carrier is trying to maximize profits the best it can.
If you know those secrets, you can sometimes use them to your advantage.
Keep reading to learn more about five measures airlines use to get an edge in the market.
You’re not imagining it: The seats you park your butt in for five hours at a time are getting slimmer.
In this case, it’s a simple math problem: Smaller seats allow airlines to fit more seats into each plane.
For instance, 25 rows with 6 seats each is going to make the airline more money than 25 rows with 5 seats each. People will complain, but the FAA has so far declined to hold airlines to a minimum seat size. Nowadays, it’s all about airline revenue management.
Seats aren’t the only aspect that’s shrinking. Some newer planes also come with smaller lavatories.
However, airlines say that this change can actually make some passengers more comfortable. How is that possible?
The smaller lavatory could allow passengers in the very back row to recline their seats. That wasn’t possible before. Airlines are encouraging people to get out of the bathroom faster and go back to seats that are (hopefully) more comfortable.
Shifting Gender Norms
If you identify as male or female, you may not think much about choosing from one of two genders when you get a plane ticket. But that decision can feel like agony for people who don’t identify as either.
Gender neutral airlines are on the rise. American and United both give passengers more choices now.
On both airlines, you can now choose U (for Undisclosed) or X (for Unspecified). That’s in addition to F (for Female) or M (for Male).
Why is that important? It keeps non-binary passengers from getting harassed because they don’t look a certain way.
Higher Baggage Fees
When you look for competitive prices, you aren’t just looking at the base fee for the trip. You’re also looking at things like baggage fees.
And those baggage fees are going up. United recently announced it will now charge $35 to check your first bag. That’s an increase of $5.
You can get around that, though, if you pay your baggage fees online in advance.
Fewer Single-Use Plastics
You may not think of your airplane as a restaurant. But they do serve food and drinks. And like restaurants on the ground, they’re trying to figure out how to use fewer single-use plastics in the process.
Airlines use millions of tons of plastic waste a year. Reducing that number is both good for the environment and good PR.
The Future of the Airlines Industry
It can feel like the airlines industry gets over competitive about reducing costs. But that’s the customer’s perspective. From the airlines’ perspective, everything is fine as long as people keep flying.
Does airline pricing still feel mysterious? Bookmark our travel section for more tips that will help you better understand the industry.