Today’s passengers fly as much as they used to, but now have very fragmented travel patterns. These passengers still are frequent travelers, who manage to accumulate a significant number of miles in Y class seats in scheduled airlines or in low-fare airlines. Unfortunately, they never achieve an airline’s top-tier FFP status nor the benefits of being top-tier. A new class of traveler has evolved: the “fragmented frequent flyer” (FFF or #fragflyer).
Airlines continue to experience significant cost pressures as a result of increased fuel and insurance costs, transparent fares pricing and more low-fare competition. Some airlines are now restricting benefits, even to their top-tier frequent flyer groups. As an example, it is harder to redeem reward miles due to the decrease in airline capacity. And as the pressure builds for more cost reductions, the lower-tier frequent flyer groups will be the casualty. Essentially, the loser in the current FFP is the “fragmented frequent flyer”.
But airports are well positioned to provide services to the “fragmented frequent flyer”. The opportunity exists because airports normally provide the facilities for these services; e.g. lounges, fast-tracking and other facilities and services. This is an opportunity for airports to increase their ‘non-aeronautical’ revenue stream. Of course, these new fee-for-services are available to all passengers, as customers of the airport.
It is this context that the airports have an opportunity to utilize their social media platforms to reach out to these fragmented frequent flyers. Begin the dialogue – you may be surprised at the response and the benefits of doing so.